Moriarty High School’s Caleb Edwards scored a season-high 32 points as the Pintos cranked up the poise in last Saturday’s 70-59 victory over the visiting Shiprock Chieftains.
The Pintos set the tone early as Matt Soto swatted the opening tipoff to Edwards who drilled a 3-point shot before 30 seconds had ticked off the clock.
“The boys played hard, they were relaxed—our composure was there and it just flowed well for us, and that’s what it takes,” Moriarty head coach Mike Trujillo said.
Moriarty (10-11, 1-2 District 4-4A) led throughout most of the contest, and the few times the Chieftains threatened, the Pintos turned them back. “We were rebounding, our guys were getting open, and we were scoring like crazy,” Soto said. He chipped in 6 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
When Shiprock (8-12, 1-0) took a brief lead in the first quarter, consecutive layups by Soto fueled a 13-0 run that continued into the second stanza. Edwards capped the scoring surge with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to put the Pintos ahead 21-9.
“The boys played with so much poise, especially Caleb, he showed a lot of character tonight,” Trujillo said. Edwards was on target the whole game. He nailed five of Moriarty’s six 3-pointers, and went 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
“It feels really good, especially since we got the W,” Edwards said.
The Chieftains trimmed the deficit to 6 points at halftime and opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run to knot the score at 32-32. But Moriarty answered with a 15-2 burst that was buoyed by three more treys by Edwards.
The Chieftains never got closer than 6 points the rest of the game.
“My team was really building me up, I know they believe in me,” said Edwards. “I’ve been working on my threes and I just felt it today, and they knew I was feeling it.”
Edwards gave the home team a bit of a scare late in the fourth quarter when he dropped to his knees after scoring his final field goal and had to be helped off the court.
But less than a minute later he was back on the floor. “I just got a cramp,” Edwards said. “They rubbed it out and I drank a bunch of Gatorade.”
Marvin Encinias contributed 10 points for the Pintos and Tyler Murphy added 7 points off the bench.
With nothing but district games remaining in the regular season, Trujillo hopes the team’s composure and determination in the Shiprock victory will continue down the stretch.
“We’re finally feeling like, ‘OK we’re fighting, let’s play to win,’ I think that’s big for us,” Trujillo said. “When we can play 32 minutes of poised basketball we’re going to be successful.”
Moriarty played at district rival Ruidoso Tuesday after The Independent went to print. The Pintos square off against Hope Christian on Saturday.