Moriarty’s Lady Pintos got to do something last weekend they haven’t done in four years—hoist the first-place trophy in the Alice King Invitational Tournament.
Estancia’s boys basketball team shared the same experience in the return of the Bruce King Tournament.
Both the Lady Pintos and the Bears won two games in their respective brackets to claim the top spots in the girls’ Alice King tourney—the first since 2019—and the boys’ Bruce King tourney—the first in 15 years.
The two tournaments, held concurrently at Moriarty High School on Dec. 10-11, hosted boys’ and girls’ teams from 13 schools. The Alice King and the Bruce King tournaments were split into two separate brackets—a Green bracket and a White bracket. Each team played two games. Moriarty’s and East Mountain’s boys split their two games in the Green and the White brackets, respectively. Estancia’s girls lost both of their games in the White bracket of the Alice King.
The Lady Pintos won the Green bracket to capture their first Alice King crown since 2017. “It was a fun tournament,” Moriarty girls head coach Erin Edwards said.
The Lady Pintos pounded the Aztec Lady Tigers in the first game 49-24, and then beat Roswell’s Goddard High School 47-34 in the finale the next day. Moriarty never trailed in the opener with Aztec and held a comfortable 21-8 lead at halftime.
Payton Edwards and Aneesa Chavez started the second half with back-to-back 3-point shots. They each added 3s in the fourth quarter. Edwards led the Lady Pintos with 15 points and Chavez added 10.
“We just had to come in and play like we know we can,” Payton Edwards said.
Coach Edwards noted that the Lady Pintos’ defense was the key. “They played pretty good, I mean, we’ve played better but I’m gonna give them credit because they played great defense,” Edwards said.
In the Dec. 11 finale, Moriarty and Goddard were a bit sluggish in the first half, with the Lady Pintos holding a 22-19 lead at the break. Goddard trimmed the deficit to 22-21 in the third quarter before Moriarty pulled ahead.
Evann Segura and Hannah Beukelman helped the Lady Pintos score 18 points in the fourth quarter. Segura led the Pintos with 12 points. Chavez and Beukelman each added 10. Beukelman had 12 rebounds.
In the Bruce King tourney, Estancia’s boys won the White bracket by cruising past Cottonwood Classical Prep in the opener 78-36. The Bears outlasted the Robertson Cardinals in the finale in an 80-77 shootout.
Robertson’s Mathew Gonzales scored a whopping 55 points, including sinking 10 3-point shots.
“That kid is a freak,” Estancia head coach Daniel Pierce said of Gonzales.
Estancia led at halftime, but Robertson tied the score 60-60 at the end of the third. The score was knotted at 64 in the fourth when Gonzales buried a 3-pointer to push Robertson ahead.
Estancia’s Jurrien Burelsmith’s layup with 3:20 remaining ignited a 10-0 run to put the Bears on top for good, and his layup with :16 left lifted the Bears to an 80-75 lead.
“Once I made it, I ran back and I was like, ‘Yes, we’re gonna win this,’” Burelsmith said.
A pair of Robertson free throws cut the Bears’ lead to 80-77.
Estancia then missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 4 seconds left and Robertson got the rebound. Gonzales launched one last 3-point heave before the buzzer, but it missed the mark.
“I thought it was in when he let it go, and I said, ‘We’re going to overtime,’” Pierce said about Gonzales’ last-second attempt. “And then he missed it, and I was like, ‘He is human.’”
Burelsmith finished with 12 points, and teammate Kody Larson led the Bears with 22 points.
Pierce noted that his team never quit battling, adding, “They’re a fun group, and they’re hungry, I think it’s gonna be a good year.”
Moriarty’s boys beat Santa Fe’s Academy for Technology and the Classics 61-50 in the Green bracket opener but fell to the Melrose Buffaloes 63-59 in overtime in the finale to take second place.
The Pintos exchanged leads with ATC before Cayden Dunn’s 3-pointer in the second period put the Pintos up for good. A pair of 3s by Cade Griego in the third quarter pushed the Pintos ahead by 10.
Bruno Garcia led the Pintos with 14 points, Jeremy Padilla scored 13 points and Griego added 12.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Moriarty head coach Marcus Ortiz said after the opener.
The win set up a battle with Melrose.
Melrose led for most of the game and was up 46-31 in the third quarter.
Moriarty fought back in the fourth, but Melrose led by 9 points with under four minutes remaining.
The Pintos then erupted with an 11-0 surge to grab their first lead of the game. Griego banked a layup to tie the score and then hit a jump shot with 1:15 left to put the Pintos in front 55-53.
After Melrose tied it with under a minute to go, Moriarty had two chances to win it but missed a layup with :10 left and a jumper at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
The Pintos made only two of eight shots during in OT, and Melrose won the bracket.
Griego and Padilla each scored 12 for the Pintos. Dunn added 11.
“I’m very pleased with the effort, we fought our way through, and we had our chance to win it and the shots just didn’t fall,” Ortiz said, adding, “We found the short end of the stick on this one, but it’s something to build on.”
East Mountain’s boys lost their opener in the White bracket to Robertson 76-37. The Timberwolves picked up their first victory of the season with a 65-45 win over Cottonwood Classical in the second game. Beckett Dunlavy scored 34 points for the T’Wolves.
Estancia’s girls faced a pair of Class 4A schools in the White bracket, losing to Valley 55-14 in the opener, and Pojoaque 50-27 in the finale.