A veteran roster could provide a pivotal boost as Panorama seeks to avoid its third straight losing season as the 2018-19 schedule gets underway Friday.
The Panthers last posted a winning record during the 2015-16 season. Since then, PHS has tallied just 12 combined wins, including a 6-16 campaign a year ago. The Panthers were a disappointing 4-14 in West Central Activities Conference action, with two of those wins coming against lowly West Central Valley, who secured just a single conference victory last winter.
What could steer the ship back on course is the return of Panorama’s top three scorers from a year ago, as well as their top four rebounders.
Senior Gracen Welberg is back after averaging 12.9 points per game (T-7th in the West Central) at a 41.6 percent clip.
He’ll be spelled by sophomore Zac Rizzuti, who averaged 10.2 points per game as a freshman, knocking down 47 percent of his shots, in addition to junior Luke South, who tallied a 8.6 points per game average.
Welberg also led the team in steals (42), blocks (18) and rebounds per game (5.9), pulling in a team-best 44 offensive boards.
Rizzuti hauled in an average of 4.5 rebounds per game as did South while Malachi Peasley led the team in assists 3.1 per game (68 total). Peasley averaged 6.4 points per game as a sophomore
As a team, Panorama averaged 54.3 points per game last winter, the seventh best total in the West Central Activities Conference. They scored at a 38.2 percent clip, the second-worst rate in the league while knocking down 120 three-pointers at a mere 30 percent average, only
better than Woodward Academy and West Central Valley.
Ogden’s Ben Heeren, who was second in the league in scoring a year ago at 17.3 points per game, is back for his senior go-around, and is off to a hot start, pouring in a staggering 41 points in a narrow loss to Greene County Monday.
Eight of the league’s top 10 scorers return as well, which includes Earlham’s Trent Williamson, who averaged 16.5 points per game as a junior. Ogden’s Kayden Kruse was second in the WCAC with 54 made threes and returns for his senior season while Earlham sophomore TJ Harkins drilled 50 long balls as a sophomore.
Madrid senior Devin Fuson led the league in rebounding a year ago at 10.8 rebounds per game, while Heeren hauled in 9.6 boards per game.
Van Meter looks to represent the conference at state for the third straight year after compiling a 23-2 record last winter, scoring at a rate of 67.4 points per game. The Bulldogs will lean on the dominance of big man Ryan Schmitt yet again, who averaged 14.1 points per game (at a 60.7 percent clip) while hauling in 7.6 rebounds per game. He also led the league in blocks (75), which were the second most in Class 2A.
Des Moines Christian was 20-3 a year ago, but must replace the league’s top scorer and three point shooter in Isaac Prewitt (21.5 ppg/64 made threes).
Panorama opens the 2018-19 season Friday evening at home, as they host WCAC foe, Woodward-Granger. They’ll stay home to host IKM-Manning Saturday afternoon before wrapping up the three-game home stand against Pleasantville Tuesday, Dec. 4.