Beating a team three times in a season is seldom easy, but the Moriarty girls’ basketball team accomplished that feat March 4 by grounding the visiting No. 10 Goddard Lady Rockets 78-50 in the March 4 opening round of the Class 4A state tournament.

In their first trip to the girls basketball state tournament in four years, the No. 7 Lady Pintos (19-6, 6-2) got off to a cold start, missing their first five shots in the game’s opening two minutes. But then Moriarty heated up with a 9-0 run and never looked back.

Senior Payton Edwards hit a pair of 3-point shots in the first quarter, and Aneesa Chavez and Evann Segura each added a 3-pointer of their own to lift the Lady Pintos to a 19-9 lead at the end of the stanza.

“We just came out very confident in ourselves and we knew that it’s hard to beat a team three times, and we just knew that we had to come out and play the best we can,” Edwards said. She finished with 13 points.

The Lady Pintos, who beat Goddard in December and again in January, did a fair job containing the Lady Rockets’ top scorer, Alexis Sandoval. Moriarty shut down the rest of the Lady Rockets.

“We knew No. 3 was their best player, so we knew that we just had to try and stop her,” Chavez said.

“I said to them, ‘You’ve gotta play defense, play defense and everything else will fall,’” said Moriarty head coach Erin Edwards, who secured her first state win as the team’s skipper.

On offense, the Lady Pintos spread the ball around, getting double-digit scoring from four separate players.

Moriarty broke the game open with 23 points in the second quarter, fueled by 3-pointers from Segura, Payton Edwards, and Presley Edwards, and three consecutive layups from Hannah Beukelman late in the frame. Beukelman finished with 12 points. Segura chipped in 11.

Chavez dropped a 3 to open the third quarter and added another in the closing seconds of the period to help extend the lead to 59-40.

“I started shooting those threes and they were going in, so, I was like, give me the ball,” Chavez said. She scored a team-high 27 points.

Segura started an 8-0 run with a 3 early in the fourth quarter that also included a 3 by Chavez. Sophia Marez hit a 3 with 2:40 remaining. Moriarty went to its bench for the final two minutes of the game and Presley Edwards sank a pair of layups to complete the scoring.

“They were having fun,” coach Edwards said. “When they play as a team and have fun, this is what happens.”

For the seniors who played their final home game, the win was a little bittersweet.

“Honestly, it’s sad that this is gonna be the last game I play in here, but I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else with any of these girls,” Payton Edwards said.

With the win, Moriarty advanced to the 4A state quarterfinals and will play at No. 2 Gallup on March 8.