GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Well, so far, so good for the Abraham Baldwin Stallion basketball team.
Traveling here over the weekend, the Stallions captured the Santa Fe Community College Tip-Off Tournament. Coach Todd Sheppard's team defeated the host Santa Fe squad 80-79 and won the title with a 67-66 win over Broward.
"It was a great and fun weekend. This was a great test for us. It was a chance for us to find how out good we are," said the ABAC coach.
The win over Santa Fe was impressive as the Saints entered the season as the No. 18 team in the preseason NJCAA national poll.
"That game was a great opportunity for us to test ourselves. Santa Fe is a great team," said Sheppard.
Freshman Ahmad Farley led the Stallions against the Saints with 18 points.
"He did a great job. (Starting point guard) Nick Brabham got into foul trouble and Ahmad came in played well in his place. I ask a lot of my point guards and Ahmad played well," said Sheppard. "That stat that stood out for me was that Ahmad had only one turnover in his first college game. That says a lot for him."
Other double-figure scorers for the Stallions were Ray Burford with 15, as well as Erick Fisher and John Beugnot with 11 points apiece. Burford and Beugnot also had eight rebounds apiece for the Stallions.
Sheppard was pleased with the play of Burford.
"He missed four layups in the first half, but he came back and helped lead us to the win in the second half," said Sheppard.
In the championship game against Broward, the Stallions were down by two at the half, 32-30. But ABAC came back to get the win.
"It was really a tale of two games," Sheppard said. "We were up by seven against Santa Fe with four minutes left and had to hold for the win. Against Broward, we got down at halftime and they spurted out by seven in the second half, but we came back to get the win."
Beugnot had 24 points and seven rebounds against Broward. Sophomore Chris Brown added 12 points and 10 boards. Erick Fisher had eight points, while Warren Beaulah and Brabham added seven points each.
Brabham also had seven assists and five rebounds for the Stallions.
"He led us in the second game against Broward. If we can get those numbers out of him every night, I will be happy," said Sheppard. "We are going to need that kind of sophomore leadership out of him all season."
The Stallions will now prepare to open the 2003-04 home season Friday night at 7:30 p.m. against Spartanburg Methodist. Spartanburg fell to Broward in the Santa Fe tournament.
"They are a good team. They received votes in the preseason top 25. Our success this weekend could come to a screeching halt against them," said Sheppard.
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