After taking last weekend off for the All-Star break, which marked the halfway point of the season, the Pharaohs returned to action this past weekend (April 22nd-24th). The team would embark on an Ohio road trip that featured a Friday-night game against Dayton and a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against Cincinnati. The Pharaohs entered the second half of the season with a 6-3 record sitting in third place in the Upper Midwest division of The Basketball League after ending the first half of the season winning 6 of their last 7 games. Going into this weekend there were still questions to be answered about the Pharaoh’s offense, Despite the incredible basketball the team had played in recent weeks, since starting SF, Muhammed El-Amin (who averaged 18 PPG), mutually parted ways with the team during the All-star break to prepare for the next steps in his career. El-Amin is no stranger to playing overseas as he previously had an extensive career playing professional basketball from 2010 to 2019 for teams in Italy, Greece, and Hungary before returning to his hometown of Lansing to play for the Pharaohs this season.
The road trip began with a Friday night rematch against Dayton, who entered the game with a poor record of 3-9, despite beating the Pharaohs in the first game of the season. The Pharaohs would look to showcase their improvement and prove they are far from the same team that started the season 0-2. While in the same breath Dayton came into the game looking to prove that when they won the last time these two teams played it was no fluke. Dayton would have their work cut out for them though as their starting PG, Brian Warren, who dropped 42 points on the Pharaohs last time these two teams played, would be unavailable for the game. The first quarter of play was competitive as the game went back and forth with Dayton leading by as many as 7 at one point before the Pharaohs ended the quarter strong with a 34-29 lead. The Pharaohs were off to the races in the second quarter as they put on an absolute show on the offensive end when it came to ball movement, especially on fast breaks, as they continuously found the open man and made the extra pass. Solid ball movement gave guys like SG, Ja’myrin Jackson, and PG, Latin Davis, the ability to shoot 4/7 and 3/4 from the three-point line throughout the game, respectively. Pharaohs lead 69-46 at the half. The Pharaohs held their ground in the third, despite a huge game from Dayton C, Kelvon Fuller, who had 29 points and 13 rebounds. The lead in the third never got below 18 points and this game was over by the end of the quarter as the Pharaohs lead 97-67 going into the fourth. An uneventful fourth led to the Pharaohs opening up the lead a bit more for a final score of 126-97. As far as point production goes the Pharaoh’s bigs had an uncharacteristically low scoring day but a lot of that has to do with the fast tempo the team played with for a majority of this game. Guys like SF, James Johnson, stepped up big to take on a larger offensive role as he had his best game of the season with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Ja’myrin Jackson (22 points, 7 rebounds) and Maurice Jones (18 points, 6 assists) also both had good games.
The Pharaohs traveled to Cincinnati on Saturday to kick off their doubleheader against the Warriors, who entered the game with a 2-11 record and an 0-2 record against Lansing. The game began with a bit of a slow start for the Pharaohs as they opted to not push the pace the way they had the previous night. Instead, they focused on getting the ball in the hands of their PF, Sam Muldrow, who went to work and scored 9 points in the first quarter giving the Pharaohs a 33-24 lead after the first. Maurice Jones and Ja’myrin Jackson began to get busy in the second quarter as Jones showed off how great he can move with the ball in traffic and the pace began to ramp up allowing the Pharaohs to open up the lead and go into the half up 68-49. Cincinnati’s athleticism kept them in the game as the third quarter saw the Warriors get within ten of the Pharaohs before Mo Jones and Sam Muldrow’s pick and roll game and Jackson’s hot hand would leave Cincinnati looking for answers as the quarter ended with the Pharaohs leading 105-87. Much like Friday night’s game, this was a contest that was over after 3 quarters as the Pharaohs cruised to a 135-115 victory with not much to report in the fourth. Sam Muldrow (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Maurice Jones (18 points, 11 assists) both tallied double-doubles in the contest and Ja’myrin Jackson lead all scorers with 28 points.
The third and final game of the weekend featured a rematch with the Warriors marking the fourth and final time these two teams will play each other. The Pharaohs would start the game strong on offense but would find themselves trading buckets with Cincinnati for the night as the Warriors had one of their best shooting games of the season. The Warrior’s good shooting would lead to big nights for players like Michael Davenport (35 points, 9 rebounds) and Davone Daniels (23 points, 8 rebounds) and allowed the Warriors starting PG, Deangelo Stephens-Bell, the ability to dish out 9 assists. A great second quarter for Ja’myrin Jackson, who put up 11 points in the 2nd, allowed the Pharaohs to hold onto a 59-53 lead going into halftime. The long weekend of basketball as well as Cincinnati’s hot hand began to take its toll on the Pharaohs in the second half as they found themselves struggling to keep up with the Warriors. Pharaoh’s bigs did not have a productive second half and three-point shots were hard to come by as the Pharaohs only made one the entire second half. However, the Pharaohs still managed to stick around in a hard-fought game that came down to Cincinnati getting the better of Lansing to get their first win of the season over the Pharaohs with a 126-120 victory. Despite the loss, Pharaoh’s PG, Maurice Jones, still excelled with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and SG, Ja’myrin Jackson, and C, Rozelle Nix also chipped in with 24 and 19 points, respectively.
After a busy weekend that featured 3 league games in three days, the Pharaohs find themselves in a similar position they were in when they began the road trip. Still in third place of the upper midwest division of The Basketball League with twice as many wins as losses (8-4). Toledo Glass City went 2-1 over the weekend as well and now finds themselves with a 10-5 record as they remain in second place of the division, one notch ahead of the Pharaohs. For most of the weekend, the Pharaohs took care of business however a loss to a Warriors team that finds themselves at the bottom of the division was not ideal. When asked about the loss to the Warriors on Sunday Starting PG, Maurice Jones stated, “that was a game we should’ve won but we’re not going to dwell on it”. Jones added, “this team has gotten a lot better, we know each other more and are starting to get real comfortable,” when asked about how far this team has come since the team last traveled to Ohio on weekend 1 of the season. Jones currently averages 7.5 assists per game which ranks him third in the league for that statistical category. The Pharaohs return home this upcoming weekend for divisional matchups against the Flint United (record: 5-7) on Saturday night (7:00 PM) and the Detroit Hustle (record: 4-9) on Sunday Afternoon (3:00 PM).