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Justin Davidson

Justin Davidson, the new head boys basketball coach at Mazama, address his players for the first time after being announced as the new coach by athletic director Vic Lease on Friday, April 19.

In the library at Mazama High School, athletic director Vic Lease announced the new boys head basketball coach.

Justin Davidson will take over the Vikings program after spending the past two seasons as an assistant on the girls coaching staff under Joy Lease.

The current head track and field coach at Mazama jumped at the chance to lead his own basketball program.

“I’ve been an assistant for forever and it just felt like that is what I was going to do,” Davidson said. “I get the opportunity to come in and take over a program and put my own blueprint on things and really see what I can do on my own with a great group of kids.”

Davidson spent a year as an assistant coach with the Western Oregon women’s team under Holli Howard-Carpenter, and worked under Greg Sheley at Lane Community College where the women’s basketball team won championships at the conference and regional levels.

“I’ve learned from some of the best,” Davidson said. “Coach Sheley at Lane is one of the best coaches in the NWAC. Great coach at Western Oregon with coach Howard, then being able to study here under coach Lease with the girls program has really helped mold and shape my philosophies.”

The style of basketball Davidson wants his team to play with? Push the pace offensively and be relentless on defense.

“I’m hoping for a very intense, very up-and-down brand of basketball, not slowing it down and taking the air out of the ball, applying a lot of pressure defensively and applying pressure offensively,” Davidson said.

“It’s a fun, exciting brand of basketball.”

The Vikings have been a successful program the past three seasons.

Davidson inherits a team that’s gone 46-26 overall, 24-6 in Skyline Conference play, won a conference championship in 2018 and has made it to the playoffs in all three seasons. In 2018, Mazama advanced to the Class 4A state tournament.

The 2020 Vikings, however, project to be a young team with the potential for only two seniors that were on the team this past winter in Dillon Aguiar and Aydin Smith. Promising juniors-to-be Cole Brosterhous, Steven Luna and Tristan Lee are also expected to return.

“It’s a great young core. We graduated a lot of kids that will be tough to replace,” Davidson said. “Brosterhous, Luna and Lee make up a good core of kids that got a lot of minutes last year. So we should be right back in the thick of things.”

brathbone@heraldandnews.com; follow @brathbone3