Lansing Pharaohs peak at the right time

If there’s one thing the pharaohs of Lansing do well, it’s score well. And it comes in a variety of ways, all of which were on display in the Pharaohs’ final two regular-season games this past weekend.

Ja’Myrin Jackson showed his ability to land his 3-point shot quickly in Saturday’s 113-99 win over league leaders Jamestown, hitting 7 of 14 3s on his way to 33 points. In Sunday’s 140-109 win over Dayton, Jackson scored just one 3-pointer but still finished with a game-high 38 points.

And Jackson, a 2016 Everett grad and former Lansing Community College player, is a big reason the Pharaohs made the Basketball League playoffs and will host their first postseason game at 7 p.m. Wednesday. at the Don Johnson Field House against Toledo.

“(Making the playoffs) means everything,” Jackson said. “Coming from a team in its first year, it’s huge. To have a chance to make the playoffs and get a championship is huge.”

Jackson is averaging 21.6 points per game this season.

“I think I’ve improved over the season,” Jackson said. “I started pretty well, had a few bumpy roads, but I got it back at the end. I think I’m doing pretty well.

Jackson is far from the only piece Lansing has. Jackson has had plenty of help this season, including fellow Latin Davis, who is averaging 17.9 points per game and a team-best 5.0 assists per game.

Latin Davis shoots during a Lansing Pharaohs basketball practice Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at Don Johnson Field House in Lansing.

And the Pharaohs wouldn’t be where they are without big man Sam Muldrow in charge. The former SEC Defensive Player of the Year in South Carolina is averaging 15.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

“It’s been a really good season,” Muldrow said. “I stick to it, I do everything I can to help my team win, whether it’s scoring, rebounding, blocking shots, being a veteran, just doing what I can do. My main presence is defense , so I play defense and let my offense come to me.

Muldrow had 23 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks in Saturday’s victory.

“We had to get our big guy, Sam, some shots,” Jackson said. “At half-time, he only had two. We had to bring him in and that really opened the scoring.

Muldrow followed that up with 17 points in the blowout win over Dayton.

“It was definitely a team effort,” Muldrow said after Saturday’s victory. “We followed the game plan and got the job done.”

Davis had 21 points and 11 assists on Saturday and 24 points and 13 assists on Sunday.

The weekend wins also came without a few key contributors in Maurice Jones and James Johnson.

“Our goal was to protect the house (the field),” coach Scott Newman said. “It was a good win for us to set the tone.”

Newman faced a slightly growing and thinning roster from the one he started with in March. But last weekend’s wins couldn’t come at a better time, as the Pharaohs had lost five of six in the approach.

“We’re tough to beat when our starters score,” Newman said. “We have guys who can put in the basket, but the main thing is that we are consistent and that we are better defensively.”

Head Coach Scott Newman instructs players during a Lansing Pharaohs basketball practice Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at Don Johnson Field House in Lansing.

Chris Jackson, owner and president of the Pharaohs, said the team’s main goal is to make the playoffs this season.

Mission accomplished there.

“It’s the first level of success,” said Chris Jackson. “When you have 44 teams, everyone thinks they can win the championship at the end of the year. Making the playoffs was a good first step for us because we didn’t know what to expect. But now, we have a very good opportunity to go further in the playoffs with the team we have built.

The TBL playoffs have an unusual format, with 24 teams taking part in the playoffs. The top two seeds from each of the four conferences all received byes and Lansing is a 3 seed from the Upper Midwest Division. The first round against Toledo is a best-of-three series, with the first game Wednesday in Lansing and the other two games in Toledo. The winner faces Jamestown in the second round.

The Pharaohs have lost two of three regular season games against Toledo. They shared four regular season games with the Jackals.

“We think we’re as good as the first two,” Newman said. “Their guard game is really tough on Chris Darrington, so we have to do a better job of containing it. And if we do, we believe we can succeed.

“When we play with energy, when we play with pride, when we play with heart and with a sense of urgency defensively, we’re a tough team.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO

Who: Lansing Pharaohs vs. Toledo Glass

What: The Basketball League Playoffs, Game 1, First Round

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Don Johnson Fieldhouse, Lansing

Admission: $5

Contact digital sports journalist Phil Friend at 517-377-1220 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Phil_Friend.

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