ST. GEORGE — It’s early in the prep basketball season, but the Pine View Panthers are already vastly improved.

Pine View’s Caleb Schmitt shoots against Rancho in a non-region 4A basketball game, St. George, Utah, Dec. 6, 2023 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

Nash Schroeder and Griffen Shepherd combined to score 36 points including six 3-pointers and Pine View (2-1) rolled to a 62-50 triumph over the previously unbeaten Rancho Rams from Las Vegas, Nevada.

There was a buzz and electricity in the Pit before the game started Tuesday night as fans were loud early.

The excitement and energy surrounding the team and first-year head coach Patrick Amico is noticeable after the Panthers went 6-16 last year and 5-7 in region play.

“I like the new system that we put in and we just have a lot more team chemistry this year,” Shepherd told St. George News after the win. “I feel like we have a good connection as a team.”

As the NBA is proving, championship teams need to be built around two star players, not just one. At the 4A high school level, Pine View might have the best tandem in Region 9 with seniors Schroeder and Shepherd. 

Schroeder poured in a game-high 21 points against the Rams, sinking three 3’s to go along with Shepherd’s 15 points and trio of 3’s.

But the encouraging sign for the Panthers was the play of their supporting cast. Caleb Schmitt shot two 3’s for his six points.

Jelani Odjegba sank a trey among his six points and Adam Moore also netted six points and a 3-pointer. 

Pine View’s Trevor Condie dribbles against Rancho in a non-region 4A basketball game, St. George, Utah, Dec. 6, 2023 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

And 6-foot-8 senior, Trevor Condie adds much-needed length under the basket for Pine View. He threw in seven points in the win over Rancho.

“I think once it gets into region play, we’ll really see how everybody plays,” Shepherd said. “We haven’t been playing the best, honestly. We’ve gotten a couple of wins but there’s a lot more potential.” 

Pine View hit the road to play at Logan Thursday and then at defending 4A state champion Sky View Friday.

Several Region 9 teams were in action Thursday including:

Dixie (2-0) at home on Thursday afternoon against 6A Westlake (0-2).

Snow Canyon, also 2-0, at home against Canyon View.

Desert Hills Thunder (2-1) at Sky View (2-2).

Crimson Cliffs (1-2) at a tournament at Skyridge High School and plays Farmington (3-0) in a game scheduled at 8:10 p.m. 

Cedar, which is off to an 0-3 start. The Reds play Region 11’s Bear River (3-1) in a tournament.

Hurricane is 2-4 and hosts 3-0 Virgin Valley (Mesquite, Nevada) on Friday at 7 p.m.

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