Rapid City Stevens boys, girls ready to tip off new season
Raiders open the season on Friday with a doubleheader against Brandon Valley
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Stevens boys basketball team opens a new season on Friday night, and despite a significant roster turnover from last year, there are reasons to be optimistic about what lies ahead for the Raiders.
Stevens lost nine seniors from last year’s squad that finished 19-4. In fact, Dawson Paulsen is the only returning starter for the Raiders. He averaged 11 points and two rebounds per game a year ago.
But the Raiders added two transfers this season, Dylan Pourier and Logan Starks-Barndt.
Pourier led the Douglas Patriots in scoring last year with 12 points per game, while Starks-Barndt was a standout for the Hot Springs Bison.
Stevens Head Coach Chris Stoebner feels his team can be very competitive again this year.
“We’re going to have to get up and down,” Stoebner said. “I don’t think it’s going to benefit us to get in a half court, grind-it-out physical game. We’re going to have to get up and down – use our skilled players. We have a lot of skilled players, a lot of guys that can shoot. We can probably put five guys at times on the court that can shoot, which for big teams, will hopefully make us tough to defend. But at the other end, we’ve got to be able to defend and rebound.”
“I think the team chemistry is really good,” Stevens senior forward Paulsen said. “We’re all just really close, and we really enjoy playing the game together. We’re brothers on and off the court. So it’s going to be something cool.”
Stevens opens the season on Friday night at home against Brandon Valley. Then the Raiders will host the defending state champions, the Yankton Bucks, on Saturday afternoon.
Rapid City Stevens Girls Basketball
The Rapid City Stevens girls basketball team hopes to challenge for a state title this year.
The Raiders are coming off a 19-5 season in which they finished seventh at the state tournament.
Stevens returns two starters this year, including Elizabeth Schaefer, who averaged five points and two rebounds per game and junior Kyah Watson, who averaged 10 points and five rebounds per contest.
Overall, the Raiders are fairly young with two seniors and six juniors on the team.
“We have some young kids that got some playing time at state who also got to be in our gym last year and practice with us,” Stevens girls basketball coach Michael Brooks said. “So we have some high expectations in terms of understanding what we’re doing and knowing our culture and our system. But now we need to gel. It’s going to be Kyah and Liz and another senior, Cameron Karley, that really have to spearhead that movement and get everybody on the same page.”
The Raiders tip off the season with their first four games at home, starting with Brandon Valley on Friday night and Yankton on Saturday afternoon.