LANSING, MI – Weekend #10 of TBL play would prove challenging for the Pharaohs as they matched up against the two best teams in the division, the Jamestown Jackals (record: 15-4) and Toledo Glass City (record: 14-5). Entering the weekend on a three-game losing streak after missing starting guards Jamyrin Jackson and Latin Davis the previous weekend, the Pharaohs were eager to return to full strength for this weekend’s matchups. The Pharaohs would host Jamestown on Friday and Toledo on Saturday, then travel to Toledo on Sunday to complete a busy three-game weekend.
Friday night’s matchup against the Jamestown Jackals began with the Pharaohs starting the game slow and finding themselves down 7 after the first quarter. The defense by both teams picked up in the second quarter as buckets were hard to come by. However, Jamestown was still able to extend their lead by three to put themselves up by an even 10 points at halftime, score: 47-57. Jamestown would start the second half off strong, raising the lead to as many as 16 points halfway through the third before the Pharaohs would take a time out and regroup. Coming out of the timeout, Lansing began to patiently chisel away at the Jackal’s lead cutting it down to just 3 points at the end of the third. However, Jamestown was able to double-down and pull away thanks to an impressive shooting night from the three-point line, going 16/35 (45.7%). The Jackals opened it up towards the end, leading to a 102-116 loss for the Pharaohs as nobody on Lansing could get hot in the fourth.
On Saturday night, the Pharaoh’s matched up against Toledo Glass City in what will go down as one of Lansing’s best games of the season. The competitive match began with a back and forth first quarter that showed this could be anyone’s game as the first quarter ended with Lansing up 24-22. Toledo began to gain some separation in the second as they rode the hot hand of All-star game MVP Chris Darrington, who would score 24 points in the first half. Toledo would lead 61-53 at the half. Toledo would increase their lead by as many as 16 points in the third quarter before Lansing would prove to have yet another comeback in them. The Pharaohs would decrease Toledo’s lead to 9 points at the end of the third and continue to cut into their lead throughout the fourth until they would eventually tie the game at 95 a piece with 4 minutes left. The two teams would go back and forth from this point on until Toledo was able to string together a few consecutive made shots to take a 99-105 lead with only 40 seconds left. The Pharaohs would call a timeout and set up a play to get SG Ja’Myrin Jackson an open 3-point shot. Jackson would get fouled on the shot and go 3 for 3 from the line in the clutch to decrease Toledo’s lead to just three.
Following this, Lansing would look to immediately foul, sending Toledo’s Chris Darrington to the free-throw line to make 1 of 2, score: 102-106. The Pharaohs would respond with a quick drive to the bucket by Maurice Jones, who would make the bucket and draw the foul, making it a 1-point game after the successful and-1 free throw. With just 10 seconds left, Lansing would give it all they had to come up with a steal on the inbounds pass and would succeed as James Johnson would knock the inbounds pass into Ja’myrin Jackson’s hands, allowing him to take the ball in for a layup. With no timeouts remaining and down by 1, Toledo would attempt a fullcourt hail marry inbounds pass that would be intercepted by Sam Muldrow to essentially end the game, but not before Ja’myrin Jackson would get fouled and sent to the free-throw line to sink both free throws. Pharaohs win, 109-106.
Lansing’s ability to hold Chris Darrington to just 12 points in the second half was key to them securing the video, as well as the team’s resilient attitude, ability to take over in crunch time, and productive shooting night (48.2% from the field). Lansing’s standout performances included Sam Muldrow posting a double-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks, James Johnson getting active on defense, recording 18 points, 4 steals and 4 blocks, and Ja’myrin Jackson, who tallied 25 points and 7 rebounds. The Pharaoh’s evenly distributed offense had 5 players score over 15 points.
The Pharaohs had no time to celebrate their big win as they had to travel to Toledo on Sunday for an afternoon rematch against a team they had seen less than 24 hours ago. Lansing started strong, fighting in a competitive first quarter that left Lansing up 33-31 headed into the second quarter. However, like the weekend’s two previous games, the Pharaohs allowed Toledo to jump out to a 10+ point lead in the second quarter that would grow to be as large as 14 at the end of the half as Glass City found themselves up 64-50. The Pharaohs would do their best to have a repeat of Saturday’s game by cutting the lead to 9 at the end of the third as Toledo led 83-74, heading into the fourth. Unfortunately, the Pharaohs didn’t have another comeback in them and ran out of gas as they let the game get away from them, allowing Toledo to cruise to a 108-92 victory. The Pharaohs weren’t shooting as well in this game compared to their previous matchup with Glass City; they also let Darrington control the game more and were plagued by turnovers. Standouts of the game included Maurice Jones (21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) and Ja’Myrin Jackson (22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals).