Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

January 30, 2014

Deters hits 1,000-point mark for Neoga

NEOGA — Mallory, Olivia and Jillian Deters are like three elements in a set.

Together, they’re sisters from a family of tall girls. Individually, each has a skill on the court that makes them unique from their sisters.

Mallory could drive to the basket like a guard, but possessed the physical gifts of a forward. She was the first sister through the Neoga basketball program, then Olivia. Now, Jillian.

“She’s unique in her own way,” Neoga head coach Kim Romack said. “Jillian will step out and hit that 3-point shot. We’ll look back in a couple years and talk about some of the post moves Jillian had.”

Jillian, the youngest sister to play in the program, scored her 1,000th career point against Dieterich last week, after eyeing the milestone for at least four years.

She grew up watching her sisters play basketball, wanting to emulate how they played the game.

People like Romack, who’ve seen the sisters play in high school, will tell you there are definite similarities in their low-post moves and defense.

“They all have a very strong work ethic, are very competitive and love to go out there and play hard,” Romack said. “Good kids, too.”

Jillian, a quietly confident teenager, turns on her competitiveness as soon as she steps on the floor. She flips the switch and said, “I can just get away from things,” outside of the game.

Her on-floor focus made her an integral part of the team from the beginning of her sophomore season, but she remained in the shadow of another dominant post player.

Erica Hotze was Neoga’s senior star when Deters was a sophomore, and was the last player to score 1,000 points in a career at Neoga.

“I feel like I had big shoes to fill out there,” Deters said. “Erica was the other post and was a senior, so I just kind of watched her and learned.”

Romack said Deters never backed down from battle in practice against Hotze in practice, even as a sophomore.

That year was Deters’ first opportunity to compete with the best, after scoring only seven points as a freshman on the varsity squad.

“There were a lot of older girls that were posts ahead of me, so I had to wait,” Deters said.

She scored 1,000-plus points in not even three seasons for the Indians and now she’s the senior leader that the younger players look up to. She’s the only senior.

“She’s a quiet person to talk to, so it’s a big change for her to be a vocal leader,” Romack said. “She has been a huge key to our success this year.”

In due time, Deters said she’ll make a college commitment, following Mallory’s path to next-level athletics.

“I knew, after Mallory went on and played in college, I always wanted to be as good as she was,” Deters said.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.

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