CLEARFIELD -- It's unlikely that anything the Clearfield Falcons find under their Christmas trees next week will top this.
It's been slow going trying to break into the win column so far, but with the holiday break looming the Falcons gifted themselves their first victory, against five losses season-opening losses, with a 52-44 decision over Bonneville.
"These guys needed that; these guys deserved that," Clearfield coach Curtis Hulse said. "We've been pushing them pretty hard. We had no games last week so we got back to some basics. We played better Tuesday against Box Elder for a half (in a 62-53 loss) and then had some breakdowns. We're getting better."
The matchup pitted Bonneville's 3-point shooting against the inside size of Clearfield. Midway through the second period things looked eerily familiar for Clearfield as the Lakers jumped out to a nine-point lead.
Tanner Buckway, Jared Ford and Tyler Heaton each hit first quarter 3-pointers against Clearfield's 3-2 zone defense, forcing Hulse to turn to his bench.
The Lakers shot only 1-for-12 from downtown the rest of the way.
"We adjusted the lineup and also adjusted how we were rotating the zone to get a little more defensive-minded," Hulse said. "We kept guys wider and went a little quicker. Scotty Burkey has only played like a minute of varsity basketball this year, is a sophomore, and came in and was huge."
After ending the opening period with a 16-14 advantage, the Lakers went on 7-0 run to begin the second period. The Falcons then used their size advantage, to start pounding Bonneville inside. Marquis Jones, a skilled, space-eating big man went to work down low, scoring 15 first half points, and helped Clearfield close the gap to 27-23 at the break.
The Falcons caught Bonneville at 29 as the Lakers became turnover plagued and then took the lead for good when Jones went to the floor for a loose ball and found Cody Gypp for a three-pointer to put Clearfield up 35-32with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
Clearfield increased its advantage to 51-40 in the final minute of play, a 20-point swing from its second quarter deficit, despite going only 4-for-14 from the free throw line during the last minute of play.
Jones led all scorers with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Gypp had 10, while Spencer Dixon came off the bench to score eight points to go with eight rebounds.
The Lakers were led by 12 points from Sealun Erskine, while Ford joined him in double figures with 10. Jace Packard added seven.