LOS ANGELES, CA – The Potawatomi Fire are now just one win away from their second straight appearance in the TBL Finals. The Fire beat the LA Ignite 140-108 on Wednesday night to take a 1-0 lead in the Western Regional Finals.

After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Fire found their rhythm following the first media timeout. Tied at 14-14 at the first break, the Fire closed the first quarter on a 22-8 run to take a 14-point lead (36-22) after one. In the second quarter, the Fire cooled down slightly but still led by 13 (60-47) at the half.

“I thought we opened really strong,” said Fire head coach Mark Dannhoff. “We rebounded really well in the first half, and I thought we were able to get out and run. When we rebound and run, we typically find success.”

Deshawn Munson, who had a triple-double in Game 2 of the Central Conference Finals last Saturday, recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. He finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists.

“I thought Deshawn played really well tonight,” said Dannhoff. “He got us off to a strong start and set the pace for us early. He is really looking like the player we all know him to be.”

In the second half, it was much the of the same. LA cut the Fire lead down to 10 early in the third but a strong push by the Fire extended their lead out to 24 (101-77) at the end of the third.

“I thought our energy carried over into the second half,” said Dannhoff. “LA went on a little run in the third but we were able to regroup and get back to playing Fire basketball. It’s never easy making these long trips but I’m proud of the ways our guys fought and stayed focused to get this win.”

Along with Munson, five other Fire players finished in double figures scoring. Paul Harrison finished with 31 points, including 20 points in the third quarter to spark the Fire’s run. Harrison also finished with nine rebounds, six assists, and a steal. K.D. Moore finished with 27 points, three rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. Chuck Guy finished with 17 points, 10 assists, five rebounds. Off the bench, Ricky Artis II finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and a pair of assists. T.J. Maston finished with 14 points and six rebounds off the bench as well.

A full box score is available here.

“It was another good team win tonight,” said Dannhoff. “LA is a really talented team with a lot of talented players. We had to play well to get the win and we did that but we know they will fight back on Saturday and we have to be ready for everything.”

With the win, the Fire moved to 25-0 on the season. They also snapped LA’s 17-game win streak and handed the Ignite their second loss of the year (23-2).

Up next, the series will shift to Shawnee as the Fire and Ignite play Game 2 on June 15th. Game 2 will tipoff at 7 PM inside FireLake Arena in Shawnee. You can watch a live stream of the playoff games on TBL TV or listen to the games on KGFF Radio (100.9 FM/1450 AM/KGFF.com).

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 Garret Fisbeck