Moriarty’s Matthew Soto eyeing the basket before a free throw against Taos. Photo by G. Demarest.

After getting past Taos in the Class 4A state quarterfinals, Moriarty High School’s boys basketball team came up short in the March 9 semifinals, falling 61-39 to top-ranked Bernalillo at Dreamstyle Arena, aka The Pit.

“There’s probably never been a time in Moriarty history where the boys and girls both were in the semifinals, so we made history,” Moriarty boys head coach Mike Trujillo said, adding, “These kids did an awesome job.”

The No. 4 Pintos (20-9, 6-3) advanced to the semis after earning a 49-42 victory over the No. 5 Taos Tigers in the March 7 quarterfinals at Rio Rancho’s Santa Ana Star Center.

The Pintos fell behind the Tigers early, battled back to take the lead at halftime, but fell behind again in the third quarter.

Caleb Edwards sank a 3-pointer to re-claim the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Taos pushed ahead by 1 point with just under five minutes remaining in the game.

A pair of Edwards free throws with 3:21 remaining in the game gave the Pintos the lead for good. He led Moriarty with 17 points. Matthew Soto added 15.

The Tigers cut the Pintos’ lead to 43-42 with 1:10 remaining when Trujillo called a timeout and told his players, “Don’t let up!”

The Pintos heeded the coach’s command and the Tigers didn’t score another point after that.

“We fought to the end,” Trujillo said. “Matt [Soto] pulled some big boards, Caleb [Edwards] hit a key three—that was a momentum change—and we just got after it and played hard, that’s the characteristic of these kids, I’m really proud of our kids.”