SAN DIEGO — Tuesday night’s playoff game against Mathis couldn’t have ended more dramatically. 

With 30 seconds left to play, the Lady Pirates scored to take a 52-51 lead and put the Lady Vaqueros’ season on the brink of ending way earlier than expected. 

That’s when junior Marley Martinez stepped up. The athletic point guard with a knack for big plays, managed to weave her way through Mathis’ defense for a basket with a little more than half a second left two play. She drew a foul along the way which she converted to give the Lady Vaqueros a 54-52 lead. 

“Marley was big-time clutch for us,” San Diego coach Alex Tunchez said. “She’s been running point guard for us since she was s freshmen, and I think that experience is really taking over for us now. We have a lot of girls on the team that have been playing with us since they were freshmen, and that experience level is hard to beat.”

San Diego, ranked 12th in Class 3A in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll, is hoping that experience can help them once again when they square off against Santa Gertrudis Academy at Tuloso-Midway High School at 7 p.m. Friday. 

San Diego had beaten Mathis pretty handedly early in the season, but the Lady Pirates showed up ready to play in the playoff match-up Tuesday. Tunchez expects that kind of effort from Academy Friday night. 

“Santa Gertrudis is another scrappy team that’s probably going to play their best game against us,” he said. But that’s why you play these games. There are no more easy games. Everybody started the playoffs 0-0. We just need to play like we can and do the things that we do best like pressure the ball, defense and score in transition.” 

Martinez ended Tuesday’s game with 24 points.  

The winner of the San Diego Santa Gertrudis playoff game will face either Odem or Lyford next week.