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The longtime Gervais girls leader will take over a rebuilding North Marion team that went 3-16 in 2021-22.

Kyle Buse's tenure at Gervais High School may have ended earlier this year, but the former Cougars girls basketball coach was not without a team for long. Buse signed on to become the North Marion girls basketball coach on Monday, July 11, according to North Marion Athletic Director Mark Sundquist.

Buse will assume the mantle of a team that struggled in the 2021-22 season. The Huskies went just 3-16 over the course of the season, including a 1-9 Tri-Valley Conference record. It won't be the first time Buse has been tasked with turning around a program. In his seven years at Gervais, Buse helped propel the team to a 110-62 record and the de facto 2021 state championship. Last year, Gervais finished with a 23-6 record after advancing to the state quarterfinals.

PMG FILE PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Former Gervais girls basketball coach Kyle Buse signed with North Marion to helm the schools girls basketball program. The Huskies went 3-16 last season.

While he is coming off of the successful rebuild at Gervais, Buse is looking forward to the opportunity North Marion presents.

"I looked at it more as an opportunity, the bigger 4A classification, the proximity to where I live," said Buse, who is a Keizer resident. "When it came down to the program, I just knew that they have historically been a good program. Not just on the girls basketball side, but in sports. That was the biggest draw, that they were a good school, a good community, and they were going to be a good opportunity to come in and build something similar to what we did in Gervais."

According to Sundquist, Buse's ability to build from the youth program up was part of the reason the school ultimately decided to hire the former Gervais boss.

"Kyle stood out because of his passion for teaching the game of basketball as well as his desire to work closely with North Marion Youth Athletics and grow the program," Sundquist said. "In his time at Gervais, Kyle consistently had teams that qualified for the playoffs. He also supports North Marion student-athletes being involved in other sports and activities, which helps give students a great high school experience. Lastly, Kyle wants to continue to grow in his knowledge of the game and how to better utilize the teams he's assembled to make North Marion girls basketball competitive in the move to the Oregon West Conference."

Buse hosted open gyms on July 19 and 21 to get to know his future players, establish a baseline of skills and fundamentals, and ensure that the North Marion athletes were getting some time with the basketball during the summer. The girls basketball team didn't get any summer play, so it was important to the new coach that his team get some reps.

Heading into the 2022-23 season, North Marion will migrate back to the Oregon West Conference after spending the previous four seasons in the Tri-Valley Conference. The competition will be fierce for the girls basketball program; Oregon West is the home of defending state champion Philomath, as well as perennial top 10 programs Cascade and Stayton.

Buse didn't set any goals in late July as to where he wants to see his team end up by the end of the 2022-23 season but did make it known where he wants his team to start.

"We're going to come in and compete," Buse said. "I'm hoping that coming off of last year, players are just looking forward. We don't want to look back, we don't want to look on past failures or losses. I just want everybody to look forward and set goals and see where we go from there. I think we can set a lot more goals once we all connect, once the season gets started. In November we can have a more realistic expectation of what the outcome will be with this season."

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