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Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

A first of many

Yutan girls basketball team completes season with first state championship

This year’s girls basketball team had many firsts. The biggest two of these firsts came at the very end of the season. First win at a state tournament. First state champions. 

The first of these occurred on Feb. 28 at the Devaney sports arena as the girls prepared for their opening round game against Niobrara-Verdigre. They were able to get ahead in a very short period of time, making 55 percent of their shots throughout the game. Their 60-28 victory was the first time the Lady Chieftains have ever won a game at state, and their large lead allowed for all of the JV subs to get some playing time, which was a special moment for them.

From left to right, Allison Kirchmann, Jenna Benjamin, Haley Kube, Emilia Tederman, Jenna Trent, Millie Dieckman, Maura Tichota, Mylee Tichota, Jade Lewis, Madison Wilson, Delaney Shield, Reagan Wilson and Olivia Chapman take a photo with their state trophy and medals. This was the first time the Chieftains have even won a game at the state championship. (Courtesy Photo)

“Seeing those girls have the opportunity was extremely meaningful because we couldn’t have accomplished what we did without all 13 girls on the team. Not only did they play, but they played really well,” head coach Clay Carlton said.

After easily winning the first game, the Chieftains moved onto the second round of state, where they played Bishop-Neumann, whom they had already played twice this season. While the Chieftains were behind for the first three quarters, they were able to push through and beat Neumann 45-39 in a very close game. One factor that played a huge role in coming back late in the game was the number of rebounds, as the Chieftains ended the game with 21 total rebounds. They also shot 42 percent in the two-point field goal range, which helped the team to come back at a later point in the game. 

Every time we have played Neumann this season we don’t play our best game as a team. This was one team I was more nervous for playing because we have already played them twice and they were very close games,” said senior Maura Tichota. “Once #10 fouled out it was over, and once #30 fouled out too, that was the game. Our team played really strong when the games are close, and that is when we needed it the most.”

Another aspect to winning the second round game and making it to the championships was a matter of mindset.

In the first round of the state tournament, junior Jade Lewis finishes her layup. Lewis had the most rebounds on the team throughout the state championship games. (Bella Tederman)

“The biggest moment of the whole entire state championship was probably the second game. Us just playing our game and just grinding through to be the ones on top was probably the biggest moment of the tournament,”  senior Haley Kube said. 

After advancing to the championship, Yutan basketball faced the undefeated 2-seed, Crofton. Even though the Lady Chieftains were able to pull away with a lead pretty early in the game, their ability to stay controlled throughout the whole game was what greatly helped them. They also worked together very well as a team, which led them to play with confidence. The Chieftains ended the last game 55-36, where they made 74 percent of their free throws and had a total of 32 rebounds throughout the game.

“I played great defense, shot the shots I needed to shoot, and just did my role. I was not too nervous going into the Crofton game, actually excited,” said Maura Tichota, who scored her 1000th point during the game.

As the final second ticked down, the players can all recall the surreal experiences of playing at and winning the state championship.

“It was definitely an incredible moment, one that I won’t forget for the rest of my life. And then just knowing as a senior I got to finish my last ever basketball game on top, it was really incredible,” said Kube. 

Reflecting back on an incredible weekend, many of the Chieftains mentioned how their state title really didn’t sink in until a few days after the big win.

“It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet that we won the state championship. I’m just really proud that we won it. Little Jade would be so happy because that was always a goal of mine,” said junior Jade Lewis. 

After winning the championship title for the first time in school history, the Lady Chieftains were able to accomplish many goals that they set either at the start of this season or the last season as well.

Sophomore Mylee Tichota drives into the hoop against Bishop Neumann. Mylee played alongside her sister, Maura Tichota, along with her brother, Colby Tichota, who helped them as an assistant coach. (Maycee Hays)

“Ever since the beginning of the season, we realized that our team was among the top. Finally achieving the goal to win state that we had set so early in the season, I think that was one of the biggest things,” said sophomore Jenna Benjamin.

One of the biggest motivators at the state championship, to the Chieftains, was the numerous amounts of support that the basketball team received, either from family, friends, classmates or teachers. 

“Our student section was awesome throughout all of the games at the state tournament. I would say that was a huge factor to us in doing as well as we did,” said sophomore Mylee Tichota. 

Many members of the Yutan community also showed up at the school before each game to send the girls off to Lincoln, which added to the championship experience. 

“Seeing the support of the community was amazing. Being escorted out of town each day, the community send off on championship Saturday, and the return home being escorted by the fire department and greeted by so many people was a special moment for me and all the girls,” said Carlton.

While the Chieftains are still soaking up the accomplishment, they are hoping this win will have an effect on the program in the following years to come.

“I hope this win can help build our program to greater heights by getting all our elementary and middle school girls excited about basketball,” said Carlton. “For next year, I hope it shows our girls what it takes to win at that level and motivates them to continue growing their skills and athletic ability to make it happen again.”

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About the Contributors
Loganne Barta
Loganne Barta, Junior writer
Loganne Barta is a junior and in her third year of journalism.  She enjoys writing features and sports stories.  Outside journalism, Loganne is involved in FCA, NHS, FFA, student council and showing livestock through 4-H.
Bella Tederman
Bella Tederman, Senior writer
Bella Tederman is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys writing stories and taking pictures. Outside journalism, Bella is involved in volleyball, CrossFit, powerlifting, track, speech, FBLA, FCA and NHS.
Maycee Hays
Maycee Hays, Senior writer
Maycee Hays is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures at school events and writing feature stories.  Outside journalism, Maycee is involved in softball, cheer, powerlifting, club softball, speech, and NHS.
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