New coach Matt Grote takes over an experienced Arcanum girls basketball team


ARCANUM – Even with a new coaching staff, the Arcanum girls basketball team will look very familiar to fans who watched the Lady Trojans the past two seasons.

Matt Grote, a former assistant coach with the Arcanum boys basketball team, takes over a Lady Trojans squad that had no seniors last year and only had two the previous season. The transition to the new coaching staff has gone fairly well for the experienced Arcanum girls basketball team, Grote said.

“This is a great group of girls to work with so far,” he said. “With a new coaching staff, we’re all working together really well.”

While there will be a lot of similarities to past Lady Trojan squads, Arcanum is changing some things up this season, Grote said. The new coach is looking to run more set plays on offense and increase defensive pressure.

“Overall we’re kind of running some sort of pattern offense, but we’ll run a little more sets, also. Just making sure we understand where all our shots are coming from,” Grote said. “Putting a little pressure on defense.”

Even with the experienced team, it’s been an adjustment for the Trojans to get used to the new philosophies.

“Overall we’re picking things up pretty quick,” Grote said. “It’s completely new from what I understand from before so there’s going to be a little bit of adjustment time. We’re not clicking on all cylinders yet, but like I said before we’re getting better every day. We’re improving. We want to learn. That’s the biggest thing … is have great kids that work.”

Leading the way for the Trojans is a strong group of three seniors in guard Alexis Abner, forward Rebecca Deao and guard Abby Ross.

“Our seniors have been giving good leadership so far,” Grote said. “Alexis Abner comes in and works hard every day, really knows what’s going on. Becca Deao a good post presence. Abby Ross. They’re really all working hard, giving it all they’ve got.”

Joining the trio of seniors are five returning juniors in forward Brittany Kinney, forward Stevie Johnting, center Madison O’Daniel, guard McKenzie Sharritts and forward Kaitlyn Zell plus a returning sophomore in guard Elle Siculan.

“All of our returning players really are huge for us,” Grote said. “It’s great because there’s a lot of leadership on this team. A lot of girls have stepped up. They’re really taking charge of what’s going on.”

Rounding out the 10-player varsity roster is the Lady Trojans’ lone newcomer, freshman forward Alexis Unger.

“There’s a lot of talent, and they know that,” Grote said.

With so many athletic options, Arcanum is undecided on its starting lineup, Grote said. He does know that he’d like to play eight to 10 girls a night with each one making significant contributions.

“We want to get the ball inside,” Grote said. “We want to work inside-out. Really give everybody an opportunity because we spread the ball out. They love to play together. They share the ball pretty well. Kind of opens up the whole floor when our posts really get involved, too.”

Arcanum isn’t focused on wins and losses. Rather the Lady Trojans simply are focused on continued improvement.

“We really look to define success as giving effort, executing what we want to do and then really bringing energy,” Grote said. “We feel like if we do those three things we’re going to be successful.”

The Arcanum girls basketball team returns nine players with varsity experience from last season but has a first-year head coach in Matt Grote. Arcanum girls basketball team returns nine players with varsity experience from last season but has a first-year head coach in Matt Grote. Kyle Shaner|The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

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Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to

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