Moriarty girls basketball claims first Alice King crown in 10 years

Estancia struggles against the larger schools

Brooke Burch trying to get the ball to another Lady Pinto against Cobre. Photos by G. Demarest.

With beaming smiles stretching across their faces, Moriarty High School’s girls basketball players posed next to the 45th Annual Alice King Tournament banner as champions.

After getting past Estancia and Cobre in the first two rounds of the tournament, the Lady Pintos dispatched the Class 5A St. Pius X Lady Sartans 55-39 in last Saturday’s finale to claim their first Alice King crown since 2007.

It was a rematch of last year’s Alice King finale when St. Pius won 52-50.

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That’s the most impressive win we’ve had in a long time,” Moriarty head coach Joe Bailey said. “That was a big win in an emotionally-charged game—it was nice to see that emotional maturity.”

Though the Lady Sartans held a lead through much of the first quarter and early into the second, once Alyssa Adams capped a 9-0 run with her first of three 3-point shots, it was all Moriarty the rest of the way.

Adams got the trifecta by knocking down two more treys in the second quarter—one just before the buzzer—to lift Moriarty to a 10-point advantage at halftime.

In the second half the Lady Sartans tried to slow the Lady Pintos down with a full-court press defense but Moriarty still managed to shoot 63 percent from the floor. “I think we just relaxed and didn’t freak out when we got behind [early in the game],” Adams said. “And I think our post defense was very good.”

Adams finished the game with 30 points and 10 rebounds. She was named tournament MVP.

Moriarty’s Emerald Russell and Ashley Strader were both awarded All-Tournament honors.

Moriarty advanced to the championship contest by cruising to a 48-26 win over Cobre in Friday’s second round. Adams and Russell shared team-high scoring efforts with 13 points each.

Moriarty won Thursday’s first-round game against Class 3A Estancia, 59-24.

As the smallest of the eight schools participating, Estancia put in a valiant effort but struggled against the larger schools in the eight-team tournament, particularly when it came to ball control.

Against Moriarty, the Lady Bears committed 15 turnovers in the first half alone.

We didn’t make good passes, we made a lot of silly passes,” Estancia head coach Travis Watts said after the loss to Moriarty.

Estancia’s closest game was Friday’s second-round 58-54 loss to Bernalillo.

After falling behind by 11 points at halftime and 14 points midway through the third quarter, the Lady Bears mounted a 14-0 run to tie the score at 47-47 with 6:24 remaining in the game.

The Lady Bears fell behind again but trimmed the deficit to 53-52 with a minute left.

Demetria Jones led Estancia with 12 points.

That was our best game as a team—they never gave up,” Watts said, adding, “We’re still learning how to play the close games.”

The Lady Bears lost their final game of the tournament on Saturday to Class 5A Del Norte, 56-25.

The annual Alice King Invitational Tournament is the oldest girls high school basketball tournament in the state. It is named in honor of New Mexico’s longest-serving First Lady, Alice King, who passed away in 2008.