Boys basketball: No. 1 Stewartville holds off rival Byron in Section 1AAA semifinal play

Stewartville played strong defense and received 16 points from Henry Tschetter to slip past Byron 42-37 in Section 1AAA boys basketball semifinal play on Saturday.

Stewartville vs. Byron.jpg
Tegan Malone of Stewartville launches a 3-point shot from the corner while Max Dearborn (21) of Byron defends on the play during Section 1AAA boys basketball semifinal action on Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Stewartville. Top-seeded Stewartville defeated No. 4 Byron 42-37 to advance to the section title game.
Guy N. Limbeck / Post Bulletin

STEWARTVILLE — This time the game was much closer and Stewartville boys basketball coach Parker Lyga wouldn't have expected it any other way in Section 1AAA play.

Stewartville, the No. 1 seed, had defeated No. 4 Byron 77-36 and 84-65 during the regular season. But when the Hiawatha Valley League rivals met in the section semifinals on Saturday night, Byron gave the host Tigers all they could handle.

“A lot of people don’t understand that Byron has played half their season with two or three of their main guys out,” Lyga said.

Byron was missing three starters the first time the two teams met. This time Byron coach Kyle Finney had a full complement of his players.

The Bears made the game close, but Stewartville never trailed and pulled out a low-scoring 42-37 victory to advance to the section title game.


“Kyle does an excellent job with them and it feels so good to come out with a win,” Lyga said.

Junior Henry Tschetter paced Stewartville with 16 points, 11 in the second half.

"It's always good to beat Byron," Tschetter said with a grin.

Byron (14-13) slowed the game down offensively and tried to limit Stewartville by switching to a 2-3 zone on defense.

"They executed it very well and we didn’t shoot very well,” Lyga said.

Byron had played most zone defense against Stewartville in the first meeting between the teams and mostly man-to-man in the second affair. Offensively, the Bears didn't want to get into an offensive shootout.

“We needed to slow down the tempo on them,” Finney said. “We kind of let them go out and get loose on us the last couple of games. We needed to switch it up. I’m really proud of our defensive effort, but offensively we just struggled.”

Stewartville also did a solid job of playing defense. The Tigers held Byron to just two field goals in the second half until a late 3-pointer followed by a steal and a bucket pulled the Bears within 40-37 with 17 seconds left.


“Just our ability to change defenses on the fly is challenging for a lot of teams,” Lyga said. “The kids executed and it was a successful night.”

The Tigers used some zone presses, set zone defense and some man-to-man and forced 18 turnovers, 11 in the second half. Offensively, Tegan Malone had all seven of his points in the second half for Stewartville, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“We held them to 37 points so our defense was big,” Tschetter said. “We missed some free throws down the stretch, but we made some, too, so making free throws was big."

Parker Wangen and Tschetter both went 1-for-2 at the line in the closing seconds after Byron had pulled within three. Overall Stewartville was 8-for-16 at the line in the second half.

Stewartville also had strong starts to both the game and the second half. The Tigers opened the game with a 9-2 run. After they led 20-17 at the half, the Tigers had a 7-0 run to start the second half.

That kept the Bears in catch-up mode the entire contest, but Byron’s deliberate style and strong defense made the game close.

“We had a lot of opportunities, but the shots just didn’t fall,” Finney said. But he commended his team for being within a single possession with under 20 seconds to play.

Sophomore Max Dearborn, who missed time during the season with a leg injury, led Byron with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Isaac Dearborn, Max's older brother, added eight points.


“Knowing they had some tough guards, we went to that zone,” Tschetter said. “We just had to make sure we boxed out and beat up on (Isaac) Dearborn and that was kind of the key to winning.”

Stewartville (24-4) will face No. 3 Winona (14-14) in the section title game at 6 p.m. Friday, March 17 at Mayo Civic Arena. Winona beat No. 2 Austin in overtime in the other semifinal game on Saturday.

Stewartville 42, Byron 37
No. 4 BYRON (37)
Ryan Boyken 3 P, 1 3-PT; Dom Cartney 2 P; Tyler Connelly 2 P, 6 R; Isaac Dearborn 8 P, 4 R; Zach Vanderpool 4 P, 9 R; Max Dearborn 18 P, 10 R, 2 3-PT.
Parker Wangen 6 P, 2 R; Henry Tschetter 13 P, 3 R; Brady Pickett 6 P, 1 3-PT; Tegan Malone 10 P, 4 R, 3 3-PT; Jason Shindelar 5 R; Caleb Jannsen 4 P, 4 R; Ayden Helder 2 P, 4 R; Caleb Bancroft 1 P, 4 R; Max Barnes 1 R.
Halftime: STEW 20, BYR 17.
Free throws: BYR 12-16, STEW 12-24.
Three-point goals: BYR 3, STEW 4. Field goals: BYR 11-36, STEW 13-41. Rebounds: BYR 31, STEW 30.

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or
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