Like a car on a cold morning, Moriarty took a few minutes to warm up against the visiting West Las Vegas Lady Dons on Jan. 4, but once the Lady Pintos got rolling, they cruised to a 57-20 win.

The Lady Pintos hadn’t played since Dec. 18 when they lost 44-34 at Robertson High School in Las Vegas, and they were a little sluggish at the start of their matchup with the Lady Dons.

Moriarty opened with a 5-0 run but had four turnovers in the first two minutes to let West Las Vegas tie the score 5-5 by the middle of the first quarter.

“Our last game was before they went on Christmas break, so I was a little worried just because we hadn’t played in so long,” Moriarty head coach Erin Edwards said. “I was just a little bit worried about them coming out and getting back in game speed because when you’re off for two weeks, that happens.”

But the Lady Pintos took control of the game with a strong defensive effort that held the Lady Dons to single digits in every quarter, including just three points in the final frame.

“We knew that we had to come out and play our best defense cuz our defense is what’s gonna win games,” senior guard Payton Edwards said.

Near the end of the first quarter, Moriarty’s offense started clicking.

Aneesa Chavez was fouled while making a layup with two minutes left and she followed it by sinking the plus-one free throw. The three-point play ignited a 16-1 surge that spanned the next six minutes. Hannah Beukelman added a layup and Chavez closed out the opening frame with two more free throws.

The offensive surge continued into the second stanza with a 9-0 run that was sparked by Sophia Marez, who stole the ball and took it the length of the court for an uncontested layup. Payton Edwards followed with a jump shot surrounded by a trio of Lady Dons, Evann Segura added a short-range jumper in the paint, and Loralyn “Roo” Schmutz hit a free throw to put the Lady Pintos up 21-6.

Chavez ended the second quarter with a lunging layup along the baseline to give the Lady Pintos a 33-12 lead at the break.

Moriarty continued to pour it on in the second half as Chavez started the third quarter with Moriarty’s first 3-point basket of the game.

“That felt good,” said Chavez, who scored a game-high 26 points—six more than West Las Vegas’ total. “It’s hard for me to knock down threes if someone’s by me, but at that point I was by myself and I knew that I could make it.”

Chavez followed with three consecutive fast-break layups and sank another near the end of the quarter, Presley Edwards and Segura added 3s, and the Lady Pintos were sitting on a 53-17 cushion at the end of the third quarter.

“We’re seeing great things,” coach Edwards said. “They’re showing signs every game of improvement and that’s what we want to see.”

Moriarty improved its record to 8-2 on Jan. 6 with a 61-31 win over St. Michael’s in the first round of the Sandia Prep Tournament.