For more than 20 minutes during Moriarty High’s Jan. 18 matchup with Portales, the Lady Pintos went toe to toe with the visiting Lady Rams.

Trailing by a slim margin midway through the third quarter, Brooke Burch’s layup and Tristen Sauter’s free throw pulled the Pintos within 1 point with 3 minutes left in the stanza.

But after that, the home team didn’t hit another field goal and missed 10 free throws, and Portales (7-10) handed the Lady Pintos a 49-28 loss.

“We definitely fell apart,” Burch said. She scored a team-high 9 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.

Though the Pintos (9-9) trailed Portales the entire first quarter and for much of the first half, they were never behind by more than 3 points.

Moriarty took an 8-7 lead early in the second quarter on Kailei Edwards’ 3-point basket.

After Portales tied it up, the Lady Pintos inched ahead 9-8 midway through the second on a Burch free throw.

But the Lady Rams responded with a 3-ball and led the rest of the way.

“It came down to two things,” Moriarty head coach Joe Bailey noted. “We did not rebound well, and we didn’t make free throws.”

Moriarty missed 18 free throws during the game.

The Lady Pintos also had some difficulty taking care of the basketball, especially in the first half when they committed 19 turnovers.

“We’ll make mistakes, and the offense was not efficient, but we were still in the game,” Bailey said. “But we did not make free throws and we gave them too many second chances.”

Moriarty kept it close for much of the third quarter, as Ashley Strader’s 3-pointer trimmed the deficit to 2 points, and Edwards’ layup made the score 21-19.

Edwards finished with 7 points; Strader chipped in 6.

“I was very proud of our effort for three and a half quarters,” Bailey said, adding, “But we’ve gotta put it together for four quarters, and we didn’t do it.”The Lady Pintos kick off their District 2-4A schedule Jan. 22 at Los Alamos (6-11).