By Chris Rossetti
WEST SUNBURY, Pa. – What’s old is new again.
In the wake of the sudden resignation of girls’ basketball coach Matt Stebbins two weeks ago, Moniteau has turned back to a familiar face to lead the program hiring former District 9 championship winning coach Dee Arblaster Monday.
Arblaster, who is also the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,157 points in a career that ended in 1984, first coached her alma mater from 1994-2001 going 77-114 including 33-17 in her final two years cumulating in the 2001 District 9 title with a 50-44 win over rival Karns City, Moniteau’s first D9 title since winning back-to-back championships with Arblaster – then Slater – as a star player in 1983 and 1984. She left following the 2001 title on her own terms to start a family.
“I know the girls worked hard all summer,” Arblaster said when asked why she decided to return to coaching. “For them to go without a coach or someone who wasn’t in the system before, I felt it was the right time to go back.”
Arblaster, who also played collegiately at Pitt-Johnstown and was a member of the Lady Cats 1986-87 NCAA Division II Final Four team that was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of fame, takes over a Lady Warriors squad that finished 15-9 overall and 6-4 in the KSAC South last year falling to eventual champion Karns City in the District 9 Class AA semifinals. Three of the top five scorers from that team return led by second-team All American Awards & Engraving D9Sports.com performer Kristina DeMatteis, a junior, who averaged 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds. 4.9 steals and 3.9 assists per game as a sophomore. Also back are fellow juniors Alazia Greaves (7.3), who is also one of the top defensive players in the district, and Sara Hull (4.0 ppg).
“We welcome the expectations,” Arblaster said. “I have expectations myself.”
With so little time before Moniteau’s first game, the Lady Warriors open up Dec. 4 at the Shenango Tournament, Arblaster knows she and her team face challenges.
“I can’t change a lot,” Arblaster said. “It’s too late in the game. I am just getting use to what they are playing now, and the girls are getting use to what I expect.” Communications will probably be the most important thing. Theresa McCaslin has stayed on as the assistant coach and junior varsity coach, and she has been a big help.”
Arblaster said it feels good to be back on the court.
“It came back quickly,” Arblaster said/ “It’s something you never lose. The excitement for the game is the back, the enthusiasm. I shouldn’t say back. I never lost it. It’s at a different level now.”
NOTES – Arblaster was named the Butler Eagle Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year in 1999-2000 when she led the Lady Warriors to a 16-9 record … She has been a part of all three District 9 titles Moniteau has won, two as a player and one as the head coach … Stebbins was 42-28 in his three years as the head coach before resigning unexpectedly Nov. 11 … Arblaster was the school-record holder in scoring until 2006 when Alyssa Deal surpassed her mark with 1,445 career points.
|ARBLASTER YEAR-BY-YEAR AT MONITEAU
1993-94 – 1-21
1994-95 – 7-17
1995-96 – 11-14
1996-97 – 13-12
1997-98 – 6-18
1998-99 – 6-15
1999-2000 – 16-9
2000-2001 – 17-8 (District 9 Class AA Champions)