The sound of basketballs bouncing and athletic shoes squeaking on the hardwood echoed throughout Moriarty High School’s auxiliary gym June 4-6 at the annual Little Pintos Basketball Camp.

The camp—orchestrated by varsity boys head coach Marcus Ortiz, new varsity girls head coach Erin Edwards, and aided by several Moriarty High players—gave nearly 90 youngsters a variety of pointers on playing hoops.

It also helped the campers get passionate about one day being a member of the Pintos’ program.

“We want to help them begin a love for the game at a young age and teach them the basic skills, that way, when they get to us, they already know what’s going on,” Ortiz said, adding, “But the main thing is for the kids to have fun—you see all these kids here, they’re all having fun.”

Boys and girls ranging in ages from 5 years old to 14 attended the three-day camp. The kids got a heavy dose of basketball fundamentals: proper ball handling, dribbling, passing, and shooting.

Edwards, who has been involved with the camps for years as both an assistant coach and middle school head coach, said the turnout has been good in the past but there were more older kids at this year’s camp—especially girls.

“That’s why you have these programs, so you can get those kids in here,” Edwards said.

Unlike previous years that had separate camps for boys and girls, this year’s camp combined the boys and girls together.

“I think it’s a good thing having it all together in this gym where everybody’s learning the same thing,” Ortiz said.

“This is a great opportunity for the boys and the girls, I mean, they can play together, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Edwards said. “And some of the girls are better than the boys so it gives them a little, ‘I better step my game up.’”

A significant aspect of the camp was the participation of the high school players who led various age groups and instructed the campers.

“I love how the high school kids interact with the younger kids,” Edwards said. “I told them, ‘These kids look up to you, they see you as this, oh my gosh, here comes a high school basketball player.’”

Edwards noted that the high schoolers’ participation gives them a taste of giving back to the community.

“It makes them be more responsible for who they are,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to step up and be a leader.”