The past 48 hours were a whirlwind.
On Sunday, Jamila Jones was in the hospital getting his hard-pumping heart checked.
And on Tuesday, Jones was back on the bench for Lincoln’s most important game of the season.
The third-ranked Abes were not going to let Jones’ ticker have to work overtime, either. They controlled the game from the start, and put the clamps on No. 7 Bethel, 46-25, in Tacoma.
The win wrapped up the Abes’ third consecutive league title, including the past two in the 3A Pierce County League.
“You know, we came out and did what we were supposed to do — box out, rebound ... and deny the ball,” Lincoln point guard Kondalia Montgomery said. “We talked out there on the court.”
But first, Jones needed to address his team Monday after his worrisome condition.
None of his players knew a thing when he came to practice. He sat down his players, and explained the doctors ordered him to get lots of rest, forcing him to miss practice.
“I told them I would be there for ‘Senior Night’,” Jones said. “I just didn’t know if I would be coaching.”
Jones felt much better Tuesday, and decided to start all five of his seniors — Montgomery, Nashonte and Sjontae Frazier; A’shia Donahue and Azallee Johnson.
That lineup gave Lincoln (18-1, 13-0 in 3A PCL) life to start the game. Nashontae Frazier buried two early 3-pointers, and the Abes broke out to an 11-0 lead.
It only got worse for Bethel from there.
The Braves (17-2, 11-2) missed all 15 field-goal attempts in the first quarter, and did not score from the floor until Tianna Brown’s top-of-the-arc 3-pointer with 3:18 to go before halftime.
For the next six minutes, however, Bethel went on a 14-3 run, and cut the Abes’ lead to 20-17 on Avery Miller’s basket early in the second half.
That is when the Abes cranked it up for good.
Johnson’s bucket triggered a 12-0 Lincoln run. On six consecutive trips, the Abes got points inside.
“We just calmed down, and we wanted to attack the basket,” Jones said. “I have players who can get to the rim at will. We were in foul trouble, so it was difficult to get the inside-out game going. But we did not get rattled.”
Finally, Joclyen Wyatt’s 6-footer jump shot in the lane ended the spurt, and Lincoln was in control, up 30-17 at the 2:50 mark of the third quarter.
Montgomery led on both ends with 14 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and five steals. Faith Brantley added nine points, but held standout Bethel point guard Esmeralda Morales scoreless on 0-for-10 shooting.
The Braves made just eight of 54 field goals for the game, finishing at a 14.6-percent clip.
Afterward, all the players wanted to see was their coach smiling again. The Abes won their 16th league game in a row.
“We were worried, because we are a family, and we value everybody,” Montgomery said. “It was a relief to have him here.”