A journey of 1000 points begins with a single basket, and Milbank senior Maurina Street arrived at her destination in Dell Rapids on January 14. Street earned 18 points against the Lady Quarriers to etch her name in the MHS history book. She became the fifth female basketball player to score 1000 points in the team’s 48-year history.
Street’s road to 1000 started when she was in ninth grade and sunk her first basket wearing a Lady Bulldog jersey. Maurina’s mother, Jodi Street, remembers, “She made her first basket at an away game at Summit.” Jodi noted, “Tony Howard was a coach for Summit then.” Howard now coaches for Milbank and attended the game in Dell Rapids to also witness Maurina landing her 1000th point.
Maurina added 228 more points to that first basket in her freshman season. She continued to pile up points each successive year — 297 as a sophomore and 365 as a junior. She started the 2022-2023 season at 892.
Maurina now joins the elite group of Jolene Dohrer, Renee Reidburn, Amber Wollschlager, and Caryssa Mielitz. Dohrer was the first Lady Bulldog to surpass the 1000-point mark. She did it in 1979, and proceeded to accumulate 1,206 career points. In 1995, Reidburn collected 1,100 points. In 2017, Mielitz accrued 1,020 points. Wollschlager remains the all-time leading scorer for Milbank with 2,487 points and over 1,000 rebounds to her credit. She first racked up 1,108 points at Grant-Deuel High and then transferred to Milbank, where she added 1,379 more. Wollschlager went on to play four years for the Drake University Bulldogs.
Jodi says Maurina has been practicing and playing basketball since she was in second grade. “I was helping to coach her older sister’s (Amaya) youth team. Maurina would sit and watch practice and I would put her on the floor to play extra defense against the fourth and fifth graders. She also started attending basketball camps in third grade.”
“Her first basket in any game was in her fourth-grade year,” Jodi recalls. “We were playing a Watertown travel team at a youth tournament at Unity. We were getting killed! Maurina shot three free throws and made them all. The final score was like 65-3, but she got us on the scoreboard!”
Of course, Maurina’s success at basketball has not been a slam dunk. She spent many days and nights honing her skills. In the off-season, that meant a ton of shooting outside in the driveway. Jodi recalls, “After early swim team practice, Maurina would come home, eat, and go outside to shoot. Then, she’d go out again in the evening to shoot. She worked on layups and ball handling, and we’d pass and rebound for her. She was competitive, so she loved to play one-on-one or two-on-two with us, but we quickly learned that she got older, better, and stronger and well… we didn’t.”
Brian Pauli, head coach for the Lady Bulldogs, commented on what it’s like to be Maurina’s coach, “You can always count on Maurina to help her team in scoring, rebounding, and flat-out toughness. She’s reliable and a very even-keeled player.”
Even when she’s not on the court, basketball often occupies Maurina’s mind and time. Jodi says, “She’s religious about watching film, not just the Milbank games, but also upcoming teams. If it’s posted, she’ll watch film as soon as she gets home from an away game.”
Maurina’s mantra might be: Always make your last shot! Her mom says, “She always has to make her last shot. She never leaves a court — the driveway hoop, practice at school, or pregame warmup — without making one last shot.”
Congratulations to Maurina for her outstanding achievement!
The shot clock has not run out, though. The Lady Bulldogs have several games left to play before the close of their 2022-2023 season. Will Maurina add to her total? Keep up with The Valley Express to learn how things play out or go to the games and see Maurina’s “one last shot.”
Photo: Maurina sinking her 1000 point in Dell Rapids on January 14 . (Submitted Photo)