For three quarters of their Feb. 18 regular-season home finale against the Pojoaque Valley Elkettes, Moriarty’s Lady Pintos played much better than a team with only two district victories.

Moriarty (9-14, 2-6) started strong against the Elkettes—one of the top-ranked 4A teams in the state—trading leads in the first and second quarters and outscoring them in the fourth.

Aneesa Chavez leaping for a layup against Pojoaque Feb. 18. Photo by Ger Demarest.

But in the third quarter the Lady Pintos went cold and Pojoaque (19-6, 6-1) caught enough fire to capture the 56-39 victory.

“I think the first half they played really well, and in the second half they didn’t,” Moriarty head coach Erin Edwards said of her players.

Coming off a Feb. 15 win at Taos, Moriarty took an early 5-4 lead before falling behind 14-12 by the end of the opening period.

Kailei Edwards buried four 3-pointers in the first half, knocking down two in the first quarter and another early in the second quarter to lift the Lady Pintos to a 17-14 lead.

Payton Edwards added a 3 to put Moriarty up 20-16 midway through the second, and after Pojoaque hit a layup, Kailei Edwards drilled her fourth 3 to give the Lady Pintos their biggest lead of the game at 23-18.

“We were just hitting the people that were open, doing our offense, passing, cutting, dishing out to the three,” Kailei Edwards said about Moriarty’s first half.

But near the end of the second quarter, Pojoaque used a 12-2 run to go up 30-25 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Lady Pintos scored just 5 points on a pair of layups that were five minutes apart and a Tristen Sauter free throw with under 10 seconds left in the period.

Pojoaque poured it on during Moriarty’s third-quarter chill, unleashing a 15-0 surge on the way to scoring 18 points—half of those on free throws.

“They went to the line a lot and they were making their free throws and that’s pretty much how they got the lead,” Kailei Edwards said. She finished with a team-high 14 points, while her sister Payton Edwards added 9, and Aneesa Chavez chipped in 7.

“We always have great quarters but we’ve gotta put it all together, and play and have fun,” coach Edwards said.

The Lady Pintos will get at least one more game—and may even host—in next week’s District 2-4A.

Roo Schmutz and Payton Edwards battling for a rebound against a pair of Pojoaque defenders Feb. 18. Photo by Ger Demarest.