SHAWNEE, OKLA. — With a record of 16-6, one could label the inaugural season of the Potawatomi Fire a success. Having already qualified for the TBL Playoffs, the Fire can improve their seeding with a pair of wins this weekend at home in their final regular season contests.
With the Fire’s Memorial Day Special, fans can score tickets at phenomenal prices: $10 for reserved seats and just $5 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased by visiting potawatomifire.com/tickets. FireLake Arena, the home of the Fire, offers a great fan experience to watch pro basketball with not a bad seat in the house. Both weekend games tip off at 7 p.m.
On Friday night, the Fire battle the Shreveport Mavericks. The Mavs currently sit in second place in the TBL Central Conference at 18-4. In their earlier meeting on March 18 in Louisiana, the Fire emerged victorious in a nail-biter, 110-108, after Deshawn Munson hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds to seal the win. Paul Parks, who like Munson was a TBL All-Star, leads the Mavs averaging 23.9 points per game. PJ Meyers leads Shreveport with 6.6 assists per game.
Saturday night’s season finale is a rematch from a week ago when the Fire host the Beaumont Panthers (8-14). Last Sunday in southeastern Texas, the Fire topped the Panthers 132-120 behind 16 three-pointers including nine from Deon Lyle. Lyle Hexom leads the Panthers with 21.8 points and 3.9 assists per game.
The top two teams in the Central Conference earn a first round bye. The fourth and fifth seeds meet with the winner of that series taking on the second seed. The third and sixth seeds battle to meet the top seed. Each of the TBL Playoff series is a best-of-three series with the lower seed hosting the first game. The Central and Western Conferences are paired on one side of the bracket with the Eastern and Midwest paired on the other. The playoff matchups will be determined at the conclusion of Sunday’s final games.
Shreveport is on the road for their final two games with a visit to league-leading Enid to follow their game in Shawnee. The third-seeded Dallas Skyline hosts Rockwall before traveling to Little Rock on Sunday to close their year. Sugar Land is locked into the fifth spot and hosts Waco on Friday before visiting Little Rock on Saturday. Beaumont leads Rockwall by a game in a battle for the last playoff spot. The Panthers are at the Fire on Saturday and then at Enid on Sunday. Rockwall is at Dallas on Saturday and at Waco on Sunday.
The Potawatomi Fire are the first professional basketball team owned by a Native American tribe (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) in Oklahoma. The Fire compete in the Central Conference of The Basketball League (TBL), a new men’s professional basketball league with 44 teams in over 20 different states across the country. The TBL season began in March and runs through June, concluding with a championship tournament. The players that make up the rosters of the TBL teams are former NCAA (Division I to III) or NAIA athletes. Many have played in the NBA or NBA’s G-League as well as professionally overseas for several years and are continuing their careers closer to home.
Story by Justin Wollard • Photo by Landon Kidney