In a game that should not have been as close as it was, the Moriarty High School boys basketball team needed a second-half surge to pull away from the visiting Albuquerque Academy Chargers 63-52 last Saturday.

“Leading up to this game we’d done such a great job but tonight we played a little out of character,” Moriarty head coach Mike Trujillo said.

Academy led for much of the first quarter before Moriarty put together a 9-0 run late in the frame to gain a 7-point cushion.

The Pintos held Academy to nothing but free throws in the second quarter but the Chargers still managed to outscore Moriarty 11-10 during the stanza. The Pintos held a 6-point advantage at halftime but allowed Academy to trim the score to 27-26 midway through the third-quarter.

“In our last couple of games, when we got those runs it was over, and tonight we didn’t have that same poise and we let them back in,” Trujillo said.

Then, with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Marvin Encinias’s layup started a 14-3 surge that was capped by Matthew Soto’s jump shot 10 seconds before the buzzer to put the Pintos ahead 41-29—their biggest lead of the game.

Caleb Edwards started the fourth quarter with his second of two 3-point baskets to pad the lead even more. “It was a little rough tonight, the whole team was a little off,” said Edwards, who led the Pintos with 14 points.

Soto, Encinias, and Tyler Murphy each chipped in 12 points. “We’ve got to do a better job with our execution,” Trujillo said. “I’m just glad we were able to get the W.”

The Pintos played at Hope Christian Jan. 16.