PRINCETON, TX — Behind six players in double figures and reigning TBL MVP Deshawn Munson’s new Fire single-game record for rebounds, the Potawatomi Fire cruised to a win in their second game of the season, toppling the Rockwall 7ers, 130-96.
The 6-4 point guard Munson notched a new Fire single-game mark with 22 rebounds, topping his own mark of 20 boards, set last May against Beaumont. Munson was one of three Fire players with 20-plus points and four with double-doubles, as he added four assists and two steals to go along with his 21 points.
Former Baylor Bear T.J. Maston tallied another double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Chuck Guy nearly put up the first triple-double of the season with 21 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds.
K.D. Moore filled up the stat line again with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Je’lon Hornbeak, who played for the Oklahoma Sooners a decade ago, had 13 points and seven rebounds. Lyle Hexom had 11 points to go along with nine rebounds. Tevin Foster went for eight points while Chris Brand grabbed six boards.
“We arrived here a little late and missed our normal pregame routine in terms of how we get prepared on a game day. But once we settled down, found ourselves, and committed to who we are, things went our way,” said head coach Mark Dannhoff. “We played well, shared the ball, and defended well.” When asked about how he felt about the team’s 2-0 start on the road, Dannhoff replied, “Anytime you can go on the road and win, that’s perfect. We’ve played two really good teams that are well-coached and very talented. They’re both strong offensively and defensively. For us to come out of it with two wins, we feel very good about it.”
The action was close in the first half, with the Fire leading by five (28-23) after one quarter and nine (57-48) at the half. The second half saw the Fire open up their margin, outscoring Rockwall 36-22 in the third and 37-26 in the fourth.
Nearly every stat category was in favor of the visitors, with Fire dominating the glass (a team record 80-41); field goal percentage (46% to 39%); assists (27-15); steals (7-1); points off turnovers (19-12); points in the paint (68-38); second chance points (28-15); fast break (21-12); and bench points (37-12). In addition to the team record for rebounds, the Fire also tied a club record with 47 defensive rebounds.
The Fire did struggle at the foul line, going 27 for 42 (64%) for the day. They were narrowly outshot from outside, making 7 of 30 (23%) compared to 11 of 41 (26%) for the 7ers. The 130 points fell just short of last year’s team record of 133 points versus Sugar Land on April 23, 2022.
Darrice Whitley led Rockwall with 29 points, while Britt Hammons had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Next up for the Fire is a road trip to Arkansas on Saturday evening March 11, to battle the Little Rock Lightning at 5 p.m. You can hear Chris Cox on the call on KGFF or watch the game with a subscription to TBLTV.tv, via Little Rock’s live stream of the contest. The first Coach’s Corner of the new season can be heard this Wednesday, March 8, with Cox and Mark Dannhoff. The show begins at 7 p.m. and can be heard on KGFF – Shawnee’s Hometown Radio Station (100.9 FM / 1450 AM / kgff.com)
ABOUT THE FIRE AND THE BASKETBALL LEAGUE
The Potawatomi Fire concluded their first TBL (The Basketball League) season in June 2022, winning 21 of 29 games played including the playoffs. They were 18-6 in the regular season to earn the third seed in the Central Conference portion of the playoffs. They won their first round playoff series before falling in the conference semifinal round. The 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 TBL, a men’s professional basketball league, now with nearly 50 teams in over 20 different states across the U.S. and Canada. The Fire organization was named the 2022 winner of the Jim Koch Award as TBL’s Best Ran Business, despite the Fire being a first-year franchise. The dance team of the Fire, the Fire Girls, were named Best Dance Team.
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 or NBA’s developmental G-League and professionally overseas for several years and are continuing their careers closer to home or seeking a larger contract in another professional league.
Story by Justin Wollard • Photos by Landon Kidney