North/South All-Star games ‘a lot of fun’ for area graduated athletes

Moises Anaya at the 3A-4A North/South All-Star football game.

There were a flurry of 3-point shots and hard-hitting tackles, but in the end, it was all about the experience as several area recently-graduated high school athletes participated in the annual North/South All-Star basketball and football games.

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The North/South games, which also included volleyball, softball, baseball and cheer, with more than 500 recently-graduated athletes from around the state, were put on last week by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association.

In an encore to their high school sports experiences, athletes from Moriarty and Estancia high schools were chosen to play in the Class 3A-4A football game June 8 at Community Stadium, and the Class 3A-4A girls and boys basketball games, June 8 and 9 respectively, at Albuquerque High School.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to be here, to play one last game,” Estancia grad Carlos Parra said on the sideline between plays at the 3A-4A football game. “I’m honored to be among a long list of great Estancia players who’ve come here.”

Parra was joined by former Bears teammates Simon Hammond, Moises Anaya, and Gabe Chavez—who came up with a big tackle on the second play of the game—for the North squad.

Reyez Herrera, 2018 Estancia graduate, driving to the basket during the Class 3A-4A North/South All-Star boys basketball game.

“It’s amazing, honestly, it’s beautiful,” Anaya said about the experience.

Moriarty grad Marvin Encinias was chosen to play for the South squad. “It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I’m playing wide receiver and almost everything [on defense], but it’s really hot, my feet are on fire.”

The game was close throughout with the North winning, 20-19.

In the 3A-4A boys basketball contest, the South team—featuring Estancia grads Reyez Herrera and Jeremy Silva, Moriarty’s Caleb Edwards and Matt Soto, and coached by Estancia’s Daniel Pierce—led the whole game before the North team staged a huge rally and won 92-90 on a layup at the buzzer.

Herrera made the first basket of the game and sank a trio of 3-pointers in the first half. He led the South squad with 24 points.

Edwards hit his first of two treys with 5:15 remaining in the first half to help lift the South to a 54-38 lead at the intermission.

Soto had 10 rebounds. Though he was held scoreless, Silva played much of the game.

But it was a big second-half surge that gave the North the win. “That’s the way an all-star game should be, it felt like a state championship,” Pierce said, making his debut as a North/South All-Star coach. “It’s not about the win or loss—it was an amazing experience to coach 12 kids who got picked out of the entire state.”

Herrera noted that it was a little different playing with “twelve dudes who are all-stars,” adding, “It was definitely a one-time experience—we all clicked, it’s a brotherhood.”

“The whole experience was awesome,” Edwards said.

“We all had a lot of respect for each other,” added Soto.

In the 3A-4A girls basketball game, Moriarty grad Alyssa Adams’ game-high 17 points led the South squad—coached by Moriarty’s Joe Bailey—to a 98-57 victory.

Moriarty grad Alyssa Adams was all smiles at the 3A-4A North/South All-Star girls basketball game.

In the game’s opening minute, Adams took a pass near the left corner, scurried along the baseline to the paint and made one of her signature leaping layups to boost the South to an early 4-2 lead.

Adams nailed a jumper with a minute left in the half to put the South up 55-29. “I’m really happy to be here,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Bailey, coaching his first-ever all-star game, said, “Alyssa’s a special young lady, I can’t say enough about her,” adding, “We’ve got a lot of great individuals here—it gives you an idea of what it’s like to coach a college game. It really was a lot of fun.”