SHAWNEE, OKLA. — What was a close game at halftime between two of the TBL’s top teams, turned into a rout as the Potawatomi Fire used a 35-17 third quarter surge to top the Shreveport Mavericks, 131-106. Behind 2022 TBL Most Valuable Player Deshawn Munson‘s first triple-double of 2023, a Fire team record 34 assists, and eight players in double figures, the Fire rebounded from their first loss of the season and notched their second win this season in two tries over the defending TBL champions.

Fire head coach Mark Dannhoff was definitely pleased with the effort and final result. “Well, I’m really proud of the guys. I mean I was hard on them this week. We had a really good team meeting on Tuesday after being off Monday after the tough loss. And you know, they took my words to heart. They came out, they played extremely hard. They were really focused all week in practice and we just tried to reemphasize what it was gonna take for us to get to where we want to go. And we had to do it as a team.“

Dannhoff continued, “Then we just kind of fixed a few things: our spacing on offense, our paint touches, and how we were going to play on defense. We said, hey either we got to sit down with some heart and some pride and really guard and help each other out in the defensive end or we’re gonna have a hard time. Our guys came out and we broke the defense down. We worked hard all week on those things and they came out and executed tonight. Just really a terrific job by the entire team.”

Coming off his worst game as a pro that saw him ejected four minutes into Sunday’s loss at Enid, T.J. Maston had a strong comeback effort and led the Fire with 23 points and eight rebounds. “T.J. needed a bounce-back game,” said Dannhoff. “He was embarrassed and disappointed in his performance last weekend. We said you just need to get out of cruise control. Come out and fight and be the beast you are and he did that tonight for us.”

Je’lon Hornbeak had 18 points off the bench as the former OU Sooner hit 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. Among their new team record for assists, were the 13 dimes from Chuck Guy. That means twenty-eight(!) assists between two of the Fire’s potential all-stars and two players from the same team with 13 or more assists in the same game. Guy also had 16 points and seven rebounds. Theo Johnson came off the bench to score 16 points and four rebounds. K.D. Moore had 14 points and six points. 

Tevin Foster and Paul Harrison, who was playing against his former club, each had 10 points. Dannhoff also highlighted the play of Lyle Hexom, who had only four points with seven rebounds but provided great defense on Shreveport’s Paul Parks. “Lyle had a very tough task in guarding Parks and he stepped up and he got it done. Even more impressive is that his shot wasn’t falling, but he (Hexom) didn’t let that affect the defensive end for us.” Parks was held to 8/22 shooting and just 4/12 from three-point range, and under his scoring average of 25.4 points per game.

While the game featured 19 lead changes and 14 ties, most of those were in the first half as the game was tight through the first two quarters: Shreveport led 26-24 after one period but the Fire were up 55-54 at the break. Even five minutes into the third quarter the game was still back and forth. A K.D. Moore bucket at 7:13 gave the Fire a lead they would never relinquish at 66-65. From that point on, the Fire surged ahead, outscoring the Mavericks 24-6 to close the quarter at 90-71. The Fire would extend that margin to as much as 35 points in the final frame to pull away with the win.

The Fire dominated in bench scoring (59-29), three-point shooting (44% to 24%), rebounding (63-45), and assists (34-19). They also outshot the visitors, going for 54.3% (51/94) compared to Shreveport’s 40.8% (40/98).

P.J. Meyers led the Mavs with 30 points and seven assists. Paul Parks and Kadavion Evans also had 20 points each for the visitors. 

The big weekend for the Fire continues on Sunday when the Fire will host the Central Conference-leading Wichita Sky Kings at 2 p.m. for Chick-fil-A Day at the Fire. Fans can win great prizes from game day sponsor Chick-fil-A Shawnee. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Fire and the Sky Kings who are new to TBL this year. The Sky Kings have a busy weekend as well, winning by five points at home vs Enid on Friday night. Wichita then travels to Little Rock for a Saturday night contest before traveling to Shawnee for the Fire game on Sunday afternoon.



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, was named Best Dance Team.

The TBL season begins in late 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