After an inspiring victory in the first round of the Class 5A girls basketball state tournament, Moriarty’s Lady Pintos lost their footing in a 64-38 defeat to No. 3 Los Lunas in the quarterfinal round Tuesday at The Pit in Albuquerque.
“Give all the credit to Los Lunas—they’re good,” said Moriarty head coach Joe Bailey. “But we didn’t execute as well as we needed to, we didn’t play to the best of our ability.”
After Moriarty’s Alyssa Adams sank a pair of 3-point baskets, the Lady Pintos actually had a first-quarter lead, but the tenacious Lady Tigers took control in the second quarter, outscoring Moriarty 25-8 on their way to a commanding 8-point lead at halftime.
“I didn’t want it to turn out this way, but I’m glad we made it here,” said Adams, who finished with a team-high 17 points and who sank all four of Moriarty’s 3-point field goals.
Bailey said he hopes people won’t focus on Moriarty’s final defeat, but instead will look at all of their accomplishments: The team won 21 games and made it to state for the first time since 2009.
“We had a fantastic season,” Bailey said. “I’m very proud of what we did, and it’s our goal to get back here.”
The sixth-seeded Lady Pintos advanced to the quarterfinals when they squashed the No. 11 Farmington Lady Scorpions 60-47 in the first round of the state tournament last Friday at home.
The Lady Scorpions proved to be a tough opponent, especially in the early stages of the contest when they built a slim 2-point first-quarter lead.
But Moriarty senior Averee Ortiz knocked down a pair of 3-point buckets to spark a strong second stanza and put the Lady Pintos up 25-20 at halftime. Ortiz finished with 11 points.
Moriarty fended off a few short-lived Farmington rallies in the second half, pouring it on in the final frame with a 22-point surge.
With just under 30 seconds to go in the game, Moriarty’s Alyssa Adams stole a mid-court Farmington pass, took the ball to the hoop and sank a door-slamming layup for Moriarty’s 60th and final point of the game. She scored a game-high 21 points; teammate Emerald Russell also had a strong showing by chipping in 14 points.
Despite the solid offensive effort, Bailey said his team won the game with defense.
“We saw Farmington on film and knew they were a good team,” Bailey said. “But my wife told me, ‘You’ve got to remember, you’re good too,’ and we played good defense the whole game and eventually wore them down.”
Ortiz echoed her coach, saying the Lady Pintos knew they had to work together as a team and play great defense from the moment they stepped on the court.
“This was our last game at home,” Ortiz said. “And this could’ve been my last game, and no matter what, win or lose, I just wanted to go home proud, and know that my team did their job, and we did, we definitely played as a team.”
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.