It was billed as a showdown of two undefeatd District 31-4A teams with the winner gaining an edge in the title hunt.
Friday night’s matchup at the Alice gym between the Lady?Coyotes and the Corpus?Christi Tuloso-Midway Cherokees turned out to be exactly what was expected, a nail-bitter down to the very last shot.
Tuloso-Midway’s Jenna Serna missed the game-winning shot perserving the Lady Coyotes’ come-from-behind 53-52 victory giving Alice sole possession of first place in the District 31-4A standings.
The win improved the Lady Coyotes to 5-0 in district while the loss dropped the Cherokees to 4-1 in league play.
It took almost half of the first quarter for Alice to score their first points of the game and even trailed by as many as 11 points in the second quarter before the Lady Coyotes found their groove in the third quarter.
“We were down by 11 and then we were up by 12…it was one of those games,” Lady?Coyotes head coach Tracy Zamora said. “We should have kept the lead, but we told the girls that they had to do what champions do to win games and they found a way to win.”
The key was transistion, key shots and timely three-pointers that helped rally the Lady Coyotes from as many as 11 points down to taking a 11-point lead into the final quarter.
“Their transistion game was the key tonight. They pushed the ball and kept running on us,” Cherokees head coach Hector Serna said. “In the fourth quarter we made a run and we had a chance to win but we missed the game-winning shot.
“During those last five, six minutes of the game, we proved we could hang with a team as good as Alice, we just couldn’t pull it out at the end.”
The game was tied 9-9 after the first and Alice took a slim 24-22 lead into halftime. The Lady?Coyotes’ defense came to life in the third limiting the Cherokees to only five points totake a 38-27 into the final frame.
Tuloso-Midway made it a nail-bitter after outscoring the Lady?Coyotes 25-15 in the fourth, but the damage was done in the third.
Olivia Salas paced the Lady?Coyotes with a game-high 14 points, including two big three-pointers in the decisive third quarter, Chelsea Arredondo chipped in with 10 and Felisha Salinas added nine.
T-M’s Kristen Alphin had 12 points to led the Cherokees and Jessica Secoy added eight.