Gibault Hawks junior forward Brian Deterding has a much easier time negotiating a path to the basket than trying to explain to friends and teammates exactly where he lives.
His family farm is in Modoc, an unincorporated town of a couple hundred residents nestled deep in Randolph County not far from the Mississippi River.
“No one really knows where it’s at,” said Deterding, who works on his family’s 1,600-acre farm during the summer. “I say it’s south of Ruma — if they even know where that’s at.”
Modoc’s top two attractions are the Modoc Rock Shelter, a national historic site featuring artifacts from Native American culture, and the ferry that takes vehicles back and forth across the river to nearby Ste. Genevieve, Mo.
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Ruma isn’t too far from Red Bud, but the Hawks are happy to have their resident Modoc forward no matter how long it takes him to get to the private Catholic school in Waterloo.
Deterding helped the Hawks to four straight wins last week and their first tournament championship this season at the Okawville Invitational. As a result, he earned Belleville News-Democrat Athlete of the Week recognition.
He averaged just over 20 points in the four games, including a 29-point, 10-rebound explosion in a victory over Madison that saw Deterding sink 14 of his 15 shots. He also had 20 points and eight rebounds in the tourney championship win over Okawville and 21 points and nine rebounds in a win over Vandalia.
“That Okawville win was a really big win for us because we’d played pretty bad that morning against Vandalia, so I was nervous going into that game,” Deterding said. “Since we had mismatches in the post, the team did a really good job of feeding to me. When I’d pads it out, they did a good job of hitting the threes. It’s a prety good feeling to have that trophy because that was our first championship, too.”
Apparently the shooting background at Okawville’s O-Rena was to Deterding’s liking since he was successful on 34-of-52 shots at the tournament (65 percent).
“A lot of people didn’t know how this season would be for us. losing all of our starters (to graduation),” Deterding said. “This is basically our JV team from last year, so no one knew how good we were going to be.”
On the night Frederking erupted for a career-high 29 points against Madison, he missed only one shot in 15 tries.
“Probably half of those were off penetration and then I’d get a little shot or a lay-up,” he said. “But it seemed like all my hook shots were falling, everything was going in. I’ve really worked on my mid-range game, 15-footers and things like that. That’s helped me out.”
The emergence of Deterding, 6-foot-3 sophomore Trevor Davis (13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game) and junior guard Jacob Rueter (9.9 points, 6.9 assist per game, 37 3-pointers) have helped the Hawks fight their way to a 14-7 record.
“He does what he does and he does it pretty well,” Gibault coach Dennis Rueter said of Deterding, who had two uncles that played college sports and several other athletes in the family. “He scores in the post, gets on the boards and defends in the post. He’s trying to expand his game some, but we can see him playing better all the time.”
Deterding leads Gibault in scoring (14.8 points per game) and rebounding (7.4 per game) and is hitting 61.2 percent of his shots. Many of his points come from good teamwork with Jacob Rueter, but Deterding is becoming more adept at creating offense for himself.
“His freshman year, I don’t know if I've ever had a kid make more progress than he made,” Coach Rueter said of Deterding, who came from tiny St. John’s in Red Bud. “He had a long way to go to learn how to play and to his credit he’s a really smart kid and he’s worked at it.”
He was expected to be a key contributor last season, but fractured a bone in his right foot that kept him out of action for nearly two months. Deterding returned and played in only three games before suffering another foot fracture, this time putting him out of commission for good.
“I was the biggest guy on the team last year,” he said. “I wasn’t going to start, but (Coach Rueter) said I’d definitely get a lot of minutes off the bench. I played again over the summer (of 2014), but that’s nothing like playing in 5-on-5 games in the season.
“It’s still broken, but it isn’t that painful any more. Over the summer it was causing me some problems, so I was a little nervous.”
Coach Rueter said the Hawks could have definitely used Deterding last season since height was about the only thing they were lacking on a team that reached the Class 1A super-sectional.
“He really came a long way his freshman year and made big progress,” Rueter said. “We didn't have a big man last year and he wasn't quite ready really, but he would have played quite a bit if he was healthy.”
Deterding said his big week at the Okawville Invitational came after some playful banter with Gibault physical education teacher Matt Reeb, a high-scoring basketball player in his days with Metro-East Lutheran.
“We play one-on-one sometimes and he always brags to me how he averaged 18,” Deterding said. “He said if I had a big tournament maybe I could catch him.”