Moriarty’s Emerald Russell putting up a shot in the second half of last Thursday’s game against Portales. Photo by G. Demarest.

Following last week’s defeat in the District 4-4A semifinal, Moriarty High School’s girls basketball head coach Joe Bailey said he was hoping for a seeding among the top eight teams in the upcoming Class 4A state tournament.

The Lady Pintos received the No. 5 spot and will host No. 12 Hatch Valley (20-8, 6-5 District 3-4A) on Friday in the state tournament’s opening round.

Sunday’s seeding announcement came on the heels of last Thursday’s 56-38 loss at home to Moriarty’s new district rival and fourth-seeded Portales.

The visiting Lady Rams (16-10, 5-4) came into the contest with a defensive scheme that stymied Moriarty’s offense.

When the two teams met earlier this month Moriarty won, and during the previous matchup in January the Lady Pintos shot 70 percent in the first quarter.

But this time around the home team came out lukewarm—sinking just 2 of their first 10 attempted field goals in the first quarter. “I don’t think we were prepared for their defense,” Moriarty senior Emily Gonzales said. “We couldn’t get a shot off and when we did we couldn’t make them.”

Gonzales got the home team on the board with a 3-point basket in the first quarter and finished with 10 points. She hit her second 3-ball midway through the second quarter.

A few seconds later, Alyssa Adams gave Moriarty (18-7, 4-4) a brief lead when she drove the lane and tossed a left-handed layup into the basket as she went crashing to the floor. “When Emily hit that 3 it fired us up and we got a little momentum,” Adams said. She led Moriarty with 13 points and added six rebounds.

But Portales outscored the Lady Pintos 8-2 the rest of the frame to forge ahead 21-16 at halftime. The Lady Rams put the game away in the second half.

Adams hit her only 3-pointer of the game at the start of the fourth quarter.

It was tough,” she said. “They guarded Emily and me with a full-court man [defense].”

We just didn’t play well,” Bailey said. “We did not rebound well and we gave them too many shots inside, that was the biggest thing. But if we’re going to have a bad game, today was the day to have it.”