ROBSTOWN — Marley Martinez scored 24 points for the San Diego Lady Vaqueros Tuesday night in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs against the Mathis Lady Pirates.

However, it was nine points Martinez scored in crunch time that made the difference and sent San Diego to the area playoffs.

Martinez scored nine in the fourth period to preserve a small lead and give San Diego a thrilling 54-52 victory.

The state-ranked Lady Vaqueros now move on to the second round of the 3A playoffs where they will meet up with Santa Gertrudis Academy. The game is tentatively set for 6 p.m. Friday in Alice or Kingsville.

Ranked 12th in Class 3A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, San Diego improved to 29-3 for the season.

The Lady Vaqueros built an early lead, thanks in part by timely three-pointers from Leandra Bazan and Cierra Perez. San Diego led by three after the first period, but Mathis closed the gap and led 27-25 by halftime. Lena Robles scored eight points for the Lady Pirates in the second.

Martinez helped San Diego pull ahead in the third by scoring nine points. The Lady Vaqueros led, 41-40, going into the fourth

Sarah Jo Campos helped San Diego by scoring 11. Perez added eight.

Alyssa Alonzo led Mathis with 29 points. Robles scored 14.