Leading by 1 point after three quarters, the third-seated Moriarty High school’s girls’ basketball team exploded with a 12-0 surge and held on to beat the No. 6 Santa Fe Indian School Lady Braves 48-42 in the Class 4A state quarterfinals March 6 at Albuquerque’s Dreamstyle Arena, AKA The Pit.

Moriarty’s Tristen Sauter trying to maintain control of the ball. Photo by G. Demarest.

“When we got that run we just knew,” Moriarty’s Alyssa Adams said. “We were very confident and we didn’t play scared of them.” The game at Dreamstyle Arena, AKA The Pit, was a low scoring battle with Moriarty leading 20-18 at halftime. With 3:40 remaining in the game, Emerald Russell took a pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup to put the Lady Pintos up 44-31. Adams scored a game-high 22 points and Russell added 12. “They just relaxed and played and took advantage of what [the Lady Braves] gave us,” Moriarty head coach Joe Bailey said.

Tuesday’s victory came after the Lady Pintos beat the No. 14 Hatch Valley Lady Bears 61-45 last Friday at home.

The Lady Bears—who brought along a throng of fans and a troop of cheerleaders twice the size of Moriarty’s cheering squad—kept the score close throughout the entire first half and even took a couple of brief leads.

Stephanie Ordoñez battling a Hatch Valley defender. Photo by G. Demarest.

“They [the Lady Braves] shot the ball really well,” Bailey said, adding, “Kailei Edwards came in and hit two big threes, Tristen Sauter came in and did a great job—our two sophomores did a great job.”

The Lady Pintos took control in the third quarter—holding Hatch to one field goal and a pair of free throws—to build a double-digit lead.

Adams said that when the Lady Braves were hitting their shots in the first half it had the Lady Pintos “a little bit freaked out.”

“But we just relaxed after that and played our game,” she said.

Adams scored a game-high 21 points. Russell added 12. Edwards and Stephanie Ordonez each chipped in 8.

With the win over SFIS, the Lady Pintos advance to the semifinals to face No. 7 Pojoaque Valley at The Pit on March 8 at 11:30 a.m.

*The Lady Pintos finished the season with a 25-5 overall record