Pintos, new coach aim to get better after dropping season opener

Moriarty's Tyler Ortiz and Jude Ipiotis on the floor after a collision with a phalanx of Del Norte Knights.

First game jitters combined with frigid first-half shooting led to the Moriarty High School boys basketball team losing its Dec. 4 season opener to the visiting Del Norte Knights, 67-39.

The Knights came out on fire while the Pintos had trouble finding their footing during the first two quarters—turning the ball over a dozen times, making just one field goal and struggling from the foul line.

“In the first half, they were a little nervous,” Moriarty’s first-year head coach Marcus Ortiz said of his players. “Their speed was where I wanted it to be, but we missed a lot of easy buckets underneath and we were horrible from the free-throw line.”

After Del Norte started with a 7-0 run, Moriarty’s Reyes Chavez hit a 3-pointer and Tyler Ortiz followed with a free throw to trim the gap to 7-4.

Ortiz led the Pintos with 11 points and Chavez chipped in 9.

But the Pintos shot 1 for 19  from the floor and 3 for 13 from the foul line the entire first half, while the Knights erupted on a 25-0 run that started late in the first quarter and continued until late in the second.

“Everything for them was going in,” coach Ortiz said of the Knights.

Moriarty didn’t score until Cayden Dunn hit a pair of free throws with :46 left in the second quarter.

By halftime, Moriarty was looking up at a 37-6 deficit.

The Pintos rebounded in the second half, keeping up with the Knights in points during the third quarter and outscoring them in the fourth, but it was too little, too late.

“I like the effort, and the attitude was great, so all we can do is take our lickings and move forward from here,” Ortiz said, adding, “Every week we’ve gotta get better, we’ve gotta work on putting the ball in the hole.”

The Pintos played Robertson High Dec. 6 in the first of three games at the Sandia Prep Tournament in Albuquerque.