The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Going out with a bang

Tichota scores her 1,000th point in state final

Two state tournament appearances, one state title and 1,000 career points is a dream for any athlete. Senior Maura Tichota ended her high school basketball career with each of these, and she didn’t do it alone.

“This accomplishment meant so much more with my family, friends and teammates by my side rooting me on all the way to the end,” Maura said.

Coming into her senior season with 731 points, Maura knew that getting to 1,000 was within reach. However, she hit some setbacks along the way.

Kylie Krajicek

“At the beginning of the season, I was like ‘I can get it, I just have to average…eight points a game,’” Maura said. “But then an injury hit and we lost games to snow.”

Instead of getting discouraged, Maura put in more work outside of practice to keep working toward her goal with help from her brother and assistant coach Colby Tichota.

“I would stay a little bit after [practice] and work on shots with Colby so I could finish better in games and shoot more confidently,” Maura said.

While she was working on reaching her individual goal, Maura was simultaneously working with her team to get to the state tournament and make it farther than the previous year, when they lost in the first round.

“I was excited because it was a redemption,” Maura said. “It was like ‘Well, we’re here—just show everyone that we deserve to be here.’”

Heading into state as the top seed, the Chieftains won their opening game against Niobrara-Verdigre 60-28 and moved on to play Bishop Neumann for the third time in the season, pulling out a 45-39 win in the semi-finals to advance to the championship.

“Once we won the first game, the nerves left and we knew we could do it. Beating a team three times is difficult, but we were up for the challenge,” Maura said. “After winning the second game in the tournament with one game left being the championship, we knew we could make history.”

Entering the state championship, Maura was 13 points away from 1,000 career points, and as a team, there was a state title on the line—the first in Yutan’s history—so there were some nerves Maura had to deal with.

“Once we got on that bus, once we got dressed, I was fine. I was in game mode and I was ready to go,” Maura said. “It’s just the waiting before it actually happens is what gets me.”

Senior Maura Tichota drives towards the hoop during the state final. Maura had 16 points in the championship. (Kylie Krajicek)

In the championship against Crofton, the Chieftains came out strong with an early lead, and Maura was on track to get 1,000 points. The Chieftains were up 42-22 heading into the fourth quarter, and Maura had one more point to score. She made a free throw and later drained a three to end her career with 1,003 points.

“I already knew we were winning the game at that point because we were up by so much, but it was just a cherry on top,” Maura said. 

Not only was it special for Maura, but it was also special for her sister, sophomore Mylee Tichota.

“When I saw the signs that went up in the crowd, I realized that that was 1,000 points, and it was really awesome,” Mylee said. “I knew… she really, really, really wanted to get that, so it was really special for her, which made it special for me because she’s my sister.”

Having Mylee there, along with the rest of her teammates and family, was one of Maura’s biggest motivating factors.

“Having my parents and family that support me through the process and my teammates to keep pushing me… meant a lot for the whole process,” Maura said.

This entire experience meant a lot for Maura’s family as well.

“I want to serve them any way possible, so it was a relief to me that I did enough as a coach to help her achieve her goal,” Colby said. “It was cool to see and for her to know her hard work translated into success.”

Maura also received special support from the group of sixth-grade girls she had helped coach for the past few years. During the game, the girls kept tally marks on their wrists to track how close Maura was to 1,000 points.

“The past few years, I’ve been a part of their lives, and they’ve been a part of mine and… knowing that they cared as much as I cared to get it was a lot,” Maura said.

After her many challenges and accomplishments throughout the past four years, Maura is extremely satisfied with her successful high school basketball career.

“I wouldn’t have ended it any other way because of course your senior year you’re gonna go out with a bang,” Maura said. “Two nets, 1,000 points and a state championship.”

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About the Contributors
Gabi Tederman
Gabi Tederman, Junior writer
Gabi Tederman is a junior and in her third year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures and writing news stories.  Outside journalism, Gabi is involved in NHS, volleyball, track, and CrossFit.
Kylie Krajicek
Kylie Krajicek, Sophomore writer
Kylie Krajicek is a sophomore and in her second year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures.  Outside journalism, Kylie is involved in volleyball, track and dance.
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