Moriarty’s girls basketball team had its share of ups and downs during its April 19 home matchup against the Taos Lady Tigers, but the downs got the best of the Lady Pintos and the visitors went home with a 49-43 victory.

In a back-and-forth battle that saw several lead changes, Moriarty’s Payton Edwards knocked down four 3-point shots, but the Lady Tigers won it by scoring 20 fourth-quarter points while the Lady Pintos netted just 10 in the final frame.

Hannah Beukelman’s put-back layup off a rebound from her own missed shot lifted the Lady Pintos to a 37-30 advantage with fewer than five minutes remaining in the game.

Edwards sank her fourth 3 of the night to make it 40-34 with just under three minutes to go.

But that six-point lead evaporated over the next 60 seconds.

A pivotal technical foul against Moriarty put Taos’ 6-foot-4 center Kiona Ely at the line where she sank a pair of free throws. Ely tallied a game-high 19 points. The Lady Pintos had their hands full controlling her.

“We knew that, and that was our game plan—to come in and stop her,” Moriarty head coach Erin Edwards said of Ely. “We had a hard time fronting her.”

Moments later, Ely sank two more free throws to cut Moriarty’s lead to 40-39 with 2:29 left in the game.

Evann Segura grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper with 2 minutes left to put the Lady Pintos up 42-39. That was Moriarty’s final field goal of the game.

The Lady Tigers tied the game at 42-all with 1:57 left. They took the lead for good 20 seconds later.

Taos sank five free throws in the final minute and a half while Moriarty was held to just one free throw.

Payton Edwards lofted a 3-point attempt with 30 seconds remaining, but it didn’t fall. Segura fouled out with :18 left.

“Once they got ahead of us, we just shut down,” Payton Edwards said. “I think we started rushing things and turning it over, and we tried dishing and stuff that wasn’t there.” Edwards led the Lady Pintos with 14 points.

Moriarty’s offense wasn’t spectacular in the early goings—the Lady Pintos hit only 8 of 29 attempts in the first half. But Edwards’ 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter and her second one at the start of the second quarter helped power the Lady Pintos to a 13-5 advantage.

“We were playing as a team and we were getting boards and we were doing what we needed to do,” Payton Edwards said about the Pintos’ performance early in the contest.

The Lady Tigers tied the game at 15-15 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half and clawed their way to a 21-17 lead with a minute left.

Moriarty’s Mia Encinias sank a 3-point shot in the final 15 seconds to cut it to 21-20 at halftime.

After falling behind early in the third quarter, Encinias’ second 3-pointer tied the score 23-23. Taos answered with a quick layup to regain the lead.

Moriarty’s Payton Edwards launching a one-handed jumper against Taos, April 19. Photo by Ger Demarest.

Trailing 25-23 midway through the third, Aneesa Chavez stole the ball from Taos in the back court and took it coast to coast for an uncontested layup to ignite a 10-0 Moriarty run. Payton Edwards added her third 3 and Chavez capped the surge with a one-handed layup to put the Lady Pintos up 33-25.

Once again Taos countered to pull within four points by the end of the frame.

Segura opened the fourth quarter with a jumper to put the Lady Pintos up 35-29.

But Taos outscored Moriarty 20-8 in the final six and a half minutes.

“We had our moments,” Chavez said, adding that the loss came down to “not playing defense, and not finishing.”

“When we’re up we’re good, and as soon as we get down it’s like the end of the world has come,” coach Edwards said, adding, “We told the girls this was gonna be a tough game, and we’ve just gotta be mentally tough, we’ve gotta still play as a team, run our offense and make it work. Heads high, you don’t need to hang your head, it’s a game—it is what it is.”

With a 5-2 overall record, the Lady Pintos are off to their best start under coach Edwards. Moriarty hosted Pojoaque Valley April 23.