Bucks will continue to press and play up tempo under the longtime Gervais and West Linn coach

St. Paul has tabbed longtime Gervais and West Linn coach Dixon Ingalls to become its head girls basketball coach following the retirement of Mike Murphy this spring.

Ingalls, 63, coached at Gervais from 1981 to 1994 and at West Linn from 1994 to 2000 before working as an assistant at various levels and in variety of sports over the past decade, including youth and high school basketball in Wilsonville.

A retired teacher living in Wilsonville, Ingalls is currently assisting with the West Linn softball team.

Coming along with Ingalls will be assistant David Matlock, who has served as head coach at Gervais and has worked in partnership with Ingalls on and off for the past decade, and his daughter, Emily, who will coach the junior varsity team.

“We had both stopped to watch our children play a little bit and got out of varsity coaching because of the commitment of time,” Ingalls said. “Our kids are grown and we decided we’d like to do it again.”

Ingalls said the small-school level was a good fit for him and Matlock and that St. Paul was the only position they applied for this year.

“We have both looked for this kind of job and know Mike (Murphy) a little bit, the former coach,” he said. “We do similar things, so we’re tying make the transition very, very mild. We’re actually going to run some of Mike’s things over the summer. We’ll slowly put in a little more zone pressing that we like to do. It should be the same type of fast-paced basketball that you’ve seen before.”

St. Paul made a surprise run through the 1A state playoffs to finish third this winter in Murphy’s final season, but the Bucks will move up to class 2A and compete in perhaps the state’s best league, the Tri-River Conference.

This year, league champion Regis defeated runner-up Western Mennonite in the state championship game, while third-place Santiam finished fifth in state. The fourth-place team in the league, Kennedy, went 17-9, was ranked No. 11 in the OSAA rankings and also made the playoffs.

“I think all these teams are going to be very competitive, but I think that will be good for the kids. I think the St. Paul kids are all up for that,” Ingalls said. “With the football, volleyball and track programs, I think they all want to get to that level because they’ve had a good program through the years and we’re going to keep that tradition, I hope.”

Practice for summer basketball began Tuesday and Ingalls said he has put together a 30-game schedule over the next month that will conclude before the St. Paul rodeo.

“I think it’s going to be really, really fun for all us,” Ingalls said. “We hope we can get the girls to where we want them to be.

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