Despite a lackluster performance during the first three and a half quarters, the Moriarty High girls basketball team nearly pulled out a victory  during its Jan. 8 matchup against the visiting West Las Vegas Lady Dons.

But the Lady Pintos (7-7) came up short in a late rally and had to settle for a 50-46 loss—mainly because of mistakes and subpar shooting earlier in the game.

“Look at the free throws and the point-blank shots we missed,” Moriarty head coach Joe Bailey said, noting the 28 percent overall shooting and 15 missed free throws. “And we turned the ball over.”

Trailing by 17 points in the fourth quarter, the Lady Pintos used a 13-0 run to trim the gap. Fueled by a pair of 3-pointers from Kailei Edwards and another by Tristen Sauter, Moriarty only trailed 46-42 with just over a minute to play.

Kailei Edwards going up for a layup.

West Las Vegas (8-3) led 48-42 when Moriarty’s Meredith Wilson hit a layup with :42 left. Brooke Burch banked a layup with :15 left to pull the Pintos within 2.

After a pair of free throws put the Lady Dons back up by 4 with just under :10 to go, Sauter launched a 3-point attempt from the top of the arc but the ball clanged off the iron and time ran out.

“It just didn’t fall,” Sauter said. “If I would’ve got my arch a little higher, I think it would’ve hit.”

The game started without the usual opening tipoff because of a pregame technical foul by the Lady Dons, and Moriarty was awarded two free throws.

Ashley Strader went to the foul line and sank one of the awarded free throws. She followed it up with a layup to give the home team a quick 3-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Sauter drilled her first trey of the game and Hope Bennett followed with a free throw to extend Moriarty’s lead to 7-2.

The teams traded leads a few times from the end of the first quarter into the beginning of the second, including Edwards’ first 3-pointer that gave the Lady Pintos a 1-point advantage.

Wilson’s layup midway through the second quarter put the Lady Pintos up 14-11—their final lead of the game.

The Pintos dug themselves into a hole with 15 turnovers and 8 missed free throws in the first half and the Lady Dons held a 22-20 lead at halftime.

West Las Vegas opened the second half with a 9-1 run to forge ahead 31-21.

Moriarty could only muster two field goals the entire third quarter and trailed by 12 by the end of the stanza.

The Lady Dons’ lead was 46-29 when the Lady Pintos started their rally with 4:22 left in the game.

“That’s the positive thing we can say,” Bailey said referring to the late rally. “As bad as it was, we found a way to stay in the game.”

“It’s hard because it was like we were playing half fast most of the game and we all know we can play a lot faster and better than that,” Edwards said. She sank three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 11 points.

Sauter finished with 10 points and Burch added 9.

Moriarty hosted the Aztec High School Lady Tigers (6-9) Jan. 10.