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Byron Edges Stewartville, Clinches First State Tourney Berth in School History

March 15, 2018 02:30 PM

(ABC 6 News) – For the first time in program history, the Byron Bears girls basketball team is heading to the Class AA Minnesota State Girls Basketball Tournament.

The Bears, the no.3 seed in the Section 1AA tournament, defeated no.1 seed Stewartville on Friday night, 80-75.

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"I don't know how to feel, it's so awesome,” Bears senior guard Erika Smith said. “It's a feeling I've never felt before, it's amazing."

"I give all the credit in the world to our kids,” Bears Head Coach Darren Nelson added. “They work their tail off, and they came back and got the lead in the end and finished with free throws. They worked so hard for this all season long and they deserve it, they deserve it."

In the first two meetings this season between both schools, Stewartville won both contests in double-digit fashion, 82-61 and 75-45.

The difference for Byron on Friday night was the presence of 6’5 senior center Ayoka Lee—the future Kansas State Wildcat didn’t play in the first two games against Stewartville earlier this season due to an ankle injury. On Friday, Lee finished with a game-high 31 points.

"We knew it was going to be a game of runs and we knew we had to keep our composure,” Lee said. “We had to keep playing our game because that was was what won the game for us."

The Tigers were led in scoring by sophomore Lily Welch (29 points) and senior Julianne Waugh (17 points). Stewartville finishes the 2017-2018 season with a 24-5 overall record.

Credits

Sean Tehan

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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