Laura Dimock/South Dakota Public Broadcasting

In Class AA Boys Basketball, Rapid City Stevens is off to a blazing fast start. Stevens is 9-1, and is No. 1 in this week's ESPN 99.1/KELOLAND Sports/KBHB Radio poll.

Leading the charge for the Raiders has been senior guard Steven Schaefer and junior forward Sam McCloud.

"Steven (Schaefer) is a good teammate with a good understanding of the game. He works hard, gets the team involved, let's the game come to himself, and knows when to take games over," says Raiders second-year head coach Derris Buus. "Sam (McCloud) has been more assertive defensively, and offensively, he is more aggressive by getting to the basket and with offensive rebounds."

Schaefer and McCloud have been leaders for Stevens, but overall, Buss adds his team is really balanced.

"They've been good at sharing the basketball, and are working hard."

Tanner Simons, Kevin Blackett, and Matt Wilson all have contributed nicely to the Raiders season in addition to Schaefer and McCloud. Blackett has been the Raiders "rock," and Wilson has held his own at the point.

With a steady balance, Stevens has been able to knock off all of the Sioux Falls schools in the first two months. Buus shares its been big starting off hot, but also knows there's parody in Class AA.

"We're 4-0 (against Sioux Falls schools), but could be 2-2, as two of the games went to double overtime. We have to remember to stay focused and look at the big picture. We play them four more times, and we have to play well each time. There are no cupcakes. We have to be ready, or else we will be in big trouble.

Going forward, the schedule won't get any easier. This weekend, Stevens makes the trip back to East River to play O'Gorman on Friday, and Roosevelt on Saturday. Then, the following week, Stevens plays Pierre, 7-1. Buus states there's still little things the Raiders can  improve on to stay at the top of Class AA and to have title aspirations.

"We can be more consistent on both ends of the floor, and play all 32 minutes together. We cannot afford to be down in double digits. We have to stay focused on playing well, and cannot afford to get caught looking down the road. We have to keep effort where it needs to be."