The Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial Eagles spent the first quarter seemingly playing the Alice Lady Coyotes’ style of basketball.

They were running up and down the court trading shots at a tempo and pace and style that favored Alice. The Lady Coyotes thrived and led by three at the end of the first period.

However, once the Eagles slowed things down and spread their offense, the District 30-5A cross-over game was simply theirs for the taking.

The 53-31 decision Friday night sends the Eagles into the Class 5A playoffs, while ending the Lady Coyotes’ season.

For Alice, it ends a remarkable season in which Alice battled back from the bottom of 30-5A’s North Zone standings to nearly the top. Coming into the cross-over game against Veterans Memorial, the Lady Coyotes had won five of their last six games to claim second place the North.

Through the late-season run, the Lady Coyotes made their mark by out-hustling and out-shooting their opposition. They had the hustle Friday night, but the Eagles’ height gave them an advantage in rebounding and that helped to turn things around in the second period.

Veterans Memorial took advantage of Alice in the second period and made them pay for missing shots. The Eagles out-rebounded Alice and turned the defensive rebounds into easy transition points. Alice trailed 26-13 by halftime.

Alice managed to stay within striking distance in the third, but Veterans Memorial pulled away in the fourth. By spreading out their offense, they forced Alice to come out for the ball and when that happened, the Eagles were able to beat the defense to the basket. Marina Gatica finished the game with 16 points, eight of which she scored by taking the ball inside in the fourth period.

McKayla James added 14 points for the Eagles. Victoria Arismendi scored 10.

The Lady Coyotes’ usually potent offense had an off-night. Jakki Barrera, the team’s leading scorer, was held to only five points. Alex Garcia and Criselda Cruz had eight points each.

The Eagles limited the Lady Coyotes to only 17 points from the field. The rest of Alice’s points came off free throws.