After stumbling in a season-opening 68-65 loss against Mountainair, Estancia High School’s boys basketball team bounced back in a big way with two consecutive victories at home: a 62-46 win over Class 4A Moriarty, followed by a 74-22 dismantling of the Bears’ new district foe Tierra Encantada.

“I think we finally just came out and played,” Estancia head coach Daniel Pierce said after the two victories. “I told the guys, you know, whatever happened on Thursday [against Mountainair] happened, and it may have been good for us to get our butts whooped and kinda humble us a little bit.”

In Estancia’s April 10 win over Moriarty—the first matchup between the two teams since 2013—the Bears and the Pintos went toe-to-toe in the first quarter. Estancia’s Adrian Lucero sank a 3-pointer right off the bat, and moments later Jeremy Padilla answered with a 3 for the Pintos.

Estancia held a slim 11-10 lead at the end of the frame. But in the second quarter, the Bears opened with an 8-2 run and then added a 9-0 surge near the end of the period.

Moriarty’s only points in the second quarter came on two free throws and a layup by Herman Archibeque.

Estancia was up 28-14 at halftime.

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The Bears cemented the victory in the third quarter by outscoring the Pintos 16-8 to build a 22-point advantage.

The Pintos mounted a bit of a rally in the fourth by outscoring Estancia 24-18, but it wasn’t enough to dig themselves out of the hole. “I think the boys responded well Saturday [against Moriarty] and they came out with fire, and they came out with passion and they just took it to them,” Pierce said.

If the Bears came out with fire against Moriarty, they came out with fury against Tierra Encantada on April 13.

Xavier Jaramillo’s 3-pointer capped a scalding 29-0 run to start the first quarter. Tierra Encantada could only muster a pair of free throws with 8 seconds left in the frame.

The Bears continued the beatdown in the second period, allowing Pierce to go to his bench players, but even the subs were draining 3s like Drano in a clogged sink.

Justus Silva sank a 3-pointer from the left corner. Jonathon Aday drilled one from the right corner; and Dre Moreno nailed two, one from each corner.

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Kody Larson’s one-handed jumper just before the buzzer gave the Bears a blistering 55-8 lead at halftime.

Carlos Gomez opened the third quarter with a 3 as the Bears powered their way to a 68-12 advantage by the end of the frame.

Pierce used the fourth quarter almost as a practice, executing certain offensive strategies and calling out the names of players that he wanted to shoot the ball.

Estancia’s Roman Moran trying to fly to the hoop, sandwiched by a pair of Moriarty defenders, April 10. Photo by Ger Demarest.

“They’re a district opponent, I’ve never played Tierra Encantada, I knew nothing about them, so I think it was important, you know, to just come out and play hard,” Pierce said. “I told [the players], ‘Your biggest goal tonight is to play your game and just go out and do what you do,’ and I think they did that.”

Pierce added that he feels the Bears have rebounded from the loss to Mountainair, but they still have work to do.

“I feel like we’re getting there,” Pierce said. “There’s a lot of good teams in 2A, we just have to do our job and take care of our district and then we’ll worry about the rest if we get there.”