SHAWNEE, OK – The Potawatomi Fire got their 2024 season started off on the right note with a 136-91 drubbing of Enid Friday night.

Enid gave the Fire trouble early, leading by as many as four in the first quarter. However, trailing the Outlaws 20-19 late in the first, the Fire went on a 19-0 run to take a lead (38-20) that they would not give up.

“I did not expect it to be this kind of margin,” said head coach Mark Dannhoff. “It was hoping for the result of the win but not by this kind of margin. Enid is a very good basketball team that can shoot the basketball. They are going to continue to get better and will be a very good team.”

The Fire were led Friday by a trio returning players. Ricardo Artis II led the Fire in scoring with 22 points. He also three rebounds off the bench. Artis was incredibly efficient, shooting 9 of 11 from the field and knocking down his only three-point attempt.

“Ricky has his best practice of the year on Thursday, and I told somebody that he was going to have a big game,” Dannhoff said. “He brings such great energy and is such a great athlete. He has knack for finding the ball off the glass. His ability to finish at the rim is great and he plays well defensively. He’s always told me ‘You don’t have to draw anything up for me, I’ll get my points another way.’ He makes that very easy for me.”

Chuck Guy started off his season strong with a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists. The reigning TBL Defensive Player of the Year proved why he’s one of the best defenders in TBL as well, registering three steals. T.J. Maston tied for the game high in points with 22 points. Maston was 6 off 9 from the line and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Deshawn Munson had a quiet game by his lofty standards but still finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and a pair of steals. Jachai Simmons showed why his signing was a priority for the Fire in the offseason, going 5 of 8 from three on his way to scoring 19 points. Ruston Hayward also finished tonight’s game in double digits with 11 points and 3 boards off the bench.

Of note, the 136 points were the fourth most in Fire history. The 45-point margin of victory was the fourth highest in team history and 45-point loss was the largest loss in Enid history. Maston’s 10-10 night from the free throw line was the third time a Fire player was perfect from the line while attempting at least 10 free throws. Finally, Friday’s win inside FireLake Arena was the 24th straight win at home for the Fire.

A full box score of Friday’s game can be found here.

The Fire (1-0) are back in action next Thursday night when the travel to Louisiana to take on the Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks (1-0). Tipoff from Southwood High School in Shreveport, LA is set for 7 PM. You can also catch all Fire games on TBLTV.TV and KGFF Radio (100.9 FM/1450 AM).

Be sure to follow the Fire on social media (InstagramFacebookX) to stay up to date with all the latest information on the Fire.

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 men’s professional basketball league, now with 38 teams across the U.S. and Canada. Along with winning the TBL championship in 2023, the Fire organization was named the 2022 winner of the Jim Koch Award as TBL’s Best Ran Business. The dance team of the Fire, the Fire Girls, were named TBL’s 2022 Best Dance Team and Central Conference Best Dance Team in 2023.

The TBL season begins in February and runs through June, concluding with a championship playoff tournament. The players that make up the rosters of the TBL teams are former NCAA (Division I, II or III) or NAIA athletes. Many have played in the NBA’s developmental G-League and/or professionally overseas.

Story by Chris Cox / Photos by Garett Fisbeck