With the Gregory-Portland Lady Wildcats nipping at their heels and their offense struggling, the Alice Lady Coyotes went to their inside game Tuesday night.

With a couple of spot-on passes by Tayler Blum and Jakki Barrera, junior Kayla Escobar proved to be a chore for the Lady Wildcats to handle inside in the third quarter and gave Alice a big enough lead to put the game away in the fourth quarter.

Escobar finished with 13 points, eight of which she scored in the deciding third quarter of the 48-42 victory.

The win was one of the Lady Coyotes’ biggest in years since it clinched the team’s first playoff bid since 2016. Alice is alone in third place in District 29-5A after Tuesday night's games. Depending on next week’s games and the regular-season finale on the road against Laredo Martin Tuesday night, Alice will finish the district in third or fourth place.

The Lady Wildcats pulled ahead of the Lady Coyotes at the end of the first period, 13-12. Both teams went cold in the second, but Alice took the lead by outscoring Gregory-Portland, 9-5. The Lady Coyotes lead, 21-18, at halftime.

Alice’s shooting woes continued in the third, but they held their own by moving the ball inside. That’s where Escobar began to hit with some consistency. The Lady Coyotes led, 30-25, with two and a half minutes remaining in the quarter then Alice went up by nine in the next minute with back-to-back baskets by Escobar.

Blum, Alice’s leading scorer for the season, had only 14 for the night, but she sank six of 10 free throw attempts in the final quarter to help put the game away.

Senior Megan Vasquez had nine points in the game and Barrera had seven.