CLEARFIELD Clearfield point guard Jordan Hanson had to deal with a lot of begging and pleading on Tuesday night.
His team's opponent, the Weber Warriors, were practically begging him or any other Clearfield player to knock down some shots from the outside as they packed their defense near the basket. Hanson also had to deal with some pleading from his coaches, who wanted him to use his shooting touch to help down the Warriors.
He answered both.
Hanson scored nine of his 15 points in the third quarter to help the Falcons pull away and defeat Weber 54-44. It was a key league win for Clearfield, which improved to 7-3 in Region 1 and remained within striking distance of second-place Viewmont. The Warriors dropped to 5-5 and into fourth place.
Weber trimmed a game-long deficit to 22-20 early in the third quarter. That's when Hanson took over, as he scored from midrange and converted a three-point play. He nearly accounted for all of Clearfield's points in the quarter, as he scored nine and assisted on a basket by Cameron Evans.
"Jordan was huge for us tonight," said Falcons coach Curtis Hulse. "We've encouraged him to be more aggressive on offense. He's such a pass-first guy. We need his scoring. The kid can shoot the ball. He really did bail us out."
Hanson said he was just doing his job better after what he termed a couple of "off games."
"We needed someone to step up and be a leader," Hanson said. "As a point guard, that's kind of your job."
Early in the game, Weber focused its defensive game plan around stopping Clearfield big men Evans and Nick Thompson. It worked in the first half, as the two players combined for just nine points.
But Hanson's third quarter shooting loosened up the Warriors' defense, and the Falcons were able to get their chances near the basket. Thompson scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Evans had 13 points and seven rebounds.
"It helps having a guy on the perimeter that can score," Hulse said. "There were times when Weber wouldn't even come outside and guard our guards. You need a guy who can draw the defense outside."
When that happens, Clearfield is mighty tough, as Weber learned on Tuesday. Thompson, a Weber State recruit, is athletic and talented. Evans has been Clearfield's most consistent player, averaging a double-double in league games.
"Cam's been our best player all year," Hulse said. "He's a hard worker . . . just a real good kid."
Clearfield shot 58 percent from the field against Weber. Thompson was 6-for-7, Hanson was 6-for-8 and Evans was 6-for-10.Jake Hillstrom scored all of his team-high 13 points for Weber in the second half.