After not reaching the post-season since 1999, the Falcons have advanced to regional play as the district tournament runner-up in each of the past three seasons. SSES posted its first winning record (12-8) in nearly two decades in 2017-18 and won its first-ever regional playoff game, upsetting Naples First Baptist Academy on the road, 47-44, to advance to the regional final. Last year, the Falcons kept that momentum going by notching a 15-11 record and another regional appearance. They played their best basketball down the stretch, winning eight of their last 11 games.
The Falcons’ recent stretch of success has produced a remarkable turnaround. Entering the 2016-17 season, Saint Stephen's had won just eight district games since 2006, and went winless in district play from 2009-2015. The Falcons have now posted a 17-9 district record the past three seasons. SSES won just five games in five seasons between 2009 and 2014, but has racked up 37 victories during the past three campaigns.
Last season’s results were accomplished with a very thin roster that included 6-3 center Sarah Stevens playing in only the final 11 games of the campaign due to a broken leg. She averaged nearly a double-double (12.8 ppg/9.6 rpg) during her active stretch and will be counted on for big numbers as a senior in 2019-20. The Falcons also return sophomore captain Jamie Springstead at guard. A fixture on the varsity roster since seventh grade, Springstead has the potential to be a double-figure scorer every night.
With only two losses to graduation, there is experience on the roster despite the youth. Emerging players to watch include juniors Allie Serterides and Noelle Bencie, sophomore Nikole Cosentino, and sisters Kayleigh and Taylor Vogt. All of them averaged more than 10 minutes per game last season. They should take on bigger roles this season.