With their season on the line Friday night against longtime rival Calallen, the Alice Lady Coyotes broke away from their normal up-tempo running offense.

Instead of trying to run past the Lady Wildcats, Alice slowed things down — evening holding the ball near half court at times — to take advantage of mismatches the offense created.

It worked.

With the exception of a few minutes midway through the first quarter, the Lady Coyotes led the whole way for a 47-34 victory against a Calallen squad who had beaten them earlier this year.

More importantly, the victory means the Lady Coyotes finish 30-5A’s North Zone season in a tie with Tuloso-Midway for second place. The Lady Coyotes and the Cherokees will now meet in a tiebreaker at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Corpus Christi Miller High School to decide who takes second place in the North. Either way, Alice assures itself of a crossover playoff game against a South Zone team. Who they play from the South depends on the outcome of Monday’s game.

However, it’s safe to say that Alice is riding a wave of momentum headed into Monday’s showdown against the Cherokees.

“It was intense tonight,” Alice coach Amanda Gonzalez said. “These girls have worked hard since the first day of practice, and tonight they played hard and did everything we asked them too and stuck to the game plan.”

The plan going into the game was to get an early lead and then slow things down and take advantage of the Lady Wildcats' defense which was keying on leading scorers Criselda Cruz and Tayler Blum.

“A lot of times, we’ve given up leads this season,” Gonzalez said. “So, we’ve tried to instill in our girls that it doesn’t matter if you win by scoring 60 points or if you win by scoring 30. Tonight, it was just about being patient and taking advantage of (Calallen) playing man (defense) on us. It left us basically playing three-on-three inside.”

With Cruz and Blum tightly covered, Calallen left open shots for other girls and that’s where Alice capitalized. Uly Perez scored 13 points and Kaity Buentello scored nine. Together, they fueled the Lady Coyotes’ early run. Perez scored seven in the first period and Buentello scored four to help Alice to a 15-9 lead.

Calallen cut Alice’s lead to four in the second, but the Lady Coyotes scored nine in the third quarter and 16 in the fourth. They also only hit six of 16 free throw attempts in the final period, but it was enough to hold off the Lady Lady Wildcats, who were held to only six in the third and 10 in the fourth.

Blum finished Friday night’s game with 14. She scored eight in the fourth period. Buentello scored five.

On Tuesday, Alice defeated Gregory-Portland on the road, 65-41. Criselda Cruz had 22 in the game and Blum scored 21.

The Lady Coyotes are 20-12 for the season.