The bi-district playoff game between Alice and Veterans Memorial had all the makings of a David and Goliath-esque match-up.

And, for a while inside the Alice High School gym Tuesday night, everything seemingly followed the script. The Lady Coyotes, 29-5A’s third-place team, had Class 5A’s No. 9-ranked Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial Lady Eagles stunned.

An early run by Alice had Veterans Memorial down by nine midway through the first period. However, the Lady Eagles’ weren’t going away so easily. They withstood the Lady Coyotes’ early onslaught and eventually warmed up and pulled away for a 65-48 playoff win.

Once the Lady Eagles found their rhythm, they proved to be a challenge. They quickly overcame their early deficit and outscored the Lady Coyotes the rest of the way. They built a 10-point lead by halftime, thanks mostly to junior forward Samantha Perez. She scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the first half. Senior guard Alison Fritcher also pitched in, scoring eight of her 15 points in the second period. Senior Michaela James took over in the second half by scoring 14 points.

While the Lady Eagles never surrendered their lead, the Lady Coyotes managed to hang around through a physical second half.

Veterans coach Roy DeLa Pena said Alice proved to be a worthy playoff opponent and challenged his team through the entire game.

“You know this game… at any time you can lose, and in the first quarter, we lost,” Dela Pena said. “Alice came at us, but luckily we have a couple of seniors and our girls were able to regroup and caught up.

“We didn’t get away until like the third quarter. I’m real proud of Alice and the way they played, and I’m proud of our girls and the way they responded.”

For the first few minutes of the game, it was all Alice.

The Lady Coyotes took advantage of a series of turnovers by the Lady Eagles and raced to a quick 13-4 lead midway through the first period. Junior Kayla Escobar had the hot hand for the Lady Coyotes in the first minutes in the game. She scored 10 points in the first, including two three-pointers. Tayler Blum drew two fouls early on and had five points in the first period.

Alice coach Amanda Gonzalez said she was proud of how well her team played against Veterans Memorial.

“I think we played great,” Gonzalez said. “We gave them a competitive game and we played with heart. We never quit. I have to give Veterans credit. They have a good ball club and they’re coached well, but it wasn’t easy for them tonight. We were able to battle with them and we had them scared for a while. I’m just so proud of our girls and the way we played.

“They knew it was going to be a challenge and they stepped it up and they played that way for the entire game all the way to the end. (Veterans) is state-ranked and it showed. They’re a good squad, but we gave them a heck of a game.”

Blum led Alice with 15 points. Jakki Barrera had 10, including three three-pointers.

Veterans Memorial advances to the area round of the state playoffs for a match-up against Brownsville Pace, which defeated Pioneer, 47-46, in the bi-district playoffs.