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Jerin Say is looking to take the Madras girls basketball program to the next level.

STEELE HAUGEN - Jerin Say has been hired as the new Madras girls basketball coach.Jerin Say has been hired as the new Madras girls' varsity basketball coach. Say is replacing former coach Zach Lillebo who moved to Lincoln City for a vice principal job.

An MHS graduate, Say has been a volunteer boys varsity coach for the last two years, under coach and Athletic Director Evan Brown, starting in 2016.

The 32-year-old Say plans on using an uptempo, full-court style of play, both on defense and on offense.

"We want to dictate the tempo of the game," Say said. "The team is going to try and stay aggressive, make teams uncomfortable, not allowing them to call an offense or set up their defense."

"To me, being a coach is being a role model to these kids," said Say. "One of the benefits working for the school district is being able to see the kids not only athletically but also academically. I am going to be able to teach my team life skills and apply what we do on the court to outside life — show them how to do things the right way."

Say is going into his fourth year as an educational assistant in Jefferson County.

"The girls basketball teams in past have always seemed like they have had a star," he said. "This year, top to bottom, these girls can do a lot of things, but it is not going to be just one or two girls. We are going to try and do this as a team. Opposing teams should not be able to just pinpoint one or two players. All our girls should be making contributions, whether it is getting teammates open, creating turnovers, scoring, or assisting. That is how I think these girls are going to reach the next level."

"When it comes to short terms goals, I just want the team to gel and the rest will take care of itself," Say said. "I added a lot of practices that were not on the summer schedule, trying to get this team use to a new style of play, new drills, new expectations. I want them to be comfortable and work as a team. Long-term goals are to win league, compete for a state championship. I really believe that these girls have what it takes."

"I want to see everyone succeed, whether that is going to college on academics, getting a good job, or helping them become productive citizens," he said. "Being in the schools is going to help, being able to check on their grades and attendance, making sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing and holding them accountable."

Say graduated from Madras High School in 2004. He was a junior when the MHS girls basketball team last won a state title.

"Growing up in the Jefferson County community helps me understand where some of these kids come from, whether it is a rough background, hard time in school or blending in with all the different cultures we have," he said. "I can talk to these kids and help them through real life discussions."

"When it comes to basketball, boys or girls, Madras basketball always has a standard when it comes to competing, whether it is game to game or a league title," Say said. "This is something that I am going to hold these girls to. We are shooting for the top and we do not want any excuses for not reaching our goals."

"I was in high school the last time the girls won the state tournament (2003)and I saw firsthand what it really takes to be successful like that," he said. "I have already talked to the team about what it takes and that this team is fully capable if they believe in themselves and their teammates."

The new coach preaches to the kids about their effort and their attitude. He plans on implementing this to practices and games. He wants to teach the team how to carry themselves with class and create these core values for his team and future players to follow.

Say was the youth director for Jefferson County COBO — Central Oregon Basketball Organization. COBO is a youth traveling team league with most games against other Central Oregon travel teams connected to specific schools.

"I was able to see how Evan (Brown) and Zack (Lillebo) were able to run this, really learning the ins and outs of things," Say said. "After observing and helping with the traveling league, I really want to put on some team camps, individual camps and skill-building clinics. We are going to teach the COBO coaches how our programs works, whether that is drills, offenses, or style. So by the time they get to the high school, (the kids) know what is going on and the expectations."

"I want to create a hunger at the high school, always playing hard and with the system we are putting in, anyone can score at any given night," he said. A different person could have a big game throughout the season, on scoring, assisting, or maybe rebounding, no matter what it is."

"A lot of basketball players train or go to camps by themselves, but I want to see them here, training with us," Say said. "Come to the team camps, or individual clinics. If we can all come together in the offseason, then we are all on the same page, with the same expectations, same standards, building more chemistry in the community and on the basketball court for our athletes."

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