Moriarty’s boys basketball team kicked off its season Nov. 30 the same way the Pintos started last spring’s Covid-postponed campaign—with a win over the Class 3A East Mountain Timberwolves.

Cayden Dunn scored 16 points to lead 4A Moriarty in scoring and the Pintos handily shut down the T’Wolves’ offense in the 58-31 victory at Vista Grande Community Complex in Sandia Park.

“I feel like we just started suffocating them on defense and getting turnovers and fast-break layups and that’s pretty much what happened,” Dunn said.

Manny Madrid’s putback basket in the game’s opening minutes lifted the T’Wolves to an early but brief lead. Bruno Garcia hit back-to-back layups to spark an 8-0 run for the Pintos and the visitors never trailed again.

Jeremy Padilla added a pair of layups in the final minutes of the first quarter to put the Pintos up by 10—the second one coming when Aiden Pacheco intercepted an East Mountain pass at midcourt in front of the scorekeeper’s table and rifled the ball to Padilla in the paint.

“We started pressing and our press was really effective, and when our press works, we get those transition layups and that’s how we score,” Moriarty head coach Marcus Ortiz said.

Cade Griego opened the second quarter with a 3-point shot and Aiden Pacheco closed it out with a layup with five seconds left to give the Pintos a 20-point lead at halftime.

Madrid’s layup midway through the second period was East Mountain’s only field goal during the frame as the T’Wolves went scoreless for the final four minutes.

“I think we lost momentum when they started scoring,” Madrid said. He scored a game-high 17 points.

“All credit to them,” East Mountain head coach Mike Reilly said about the Pintos. “They took us out of what we wanted to do, created a lot of turnovers on our side, so, I really cannot say enough about what they did.”

In the third quarter, Griego hit his second 3-pointer of the game, Dunn followed it with a nifty backwards layup, and Michael Magoffe added a 3 with 1:25 left in the frame to lift the Pintos to a 38-16 lead.

East Mountain’s Wyatt Potter sank a layup and Everen Neal drained a 3-pointer from the left corner—the T’Wolves’ only 3 of the game—to make it 38-21 at the end of the third.

Dunn opened the fourth quarter with a 3, and six other Pintos, some of them coming in off the bench, added baskets and free throws for a combined 20 points in the period—Moriarty’s most prolific frame of the game.

“I liked our intensity,” Ortiz said. “These guys, they hustled, these guys played with a lot of heart, they were all over the floor.”

A pair of Madrid layups and a handful of free throws accounted for the T’Wolves’ 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Moriarty’s Cayden Dunn putting up a behind-the-back layup during the Pintos win over East Mountain, Nov. 30, 2021. Photo by Ger Demarest.

“I feel like we just need to come together as a team more cuz we’re brand new and there’s some new guys in here,” Madrid said.

“We appreciate Manny, he did some great stuff on defense and on offense,” Reilly said, adding, “We just have to take care of the ball and get better.”