SHAWNEE, OKLA — It took the Potawatomi Fire 40 days to top their record-setting home opener. On March 17, the Fire set seven team records with a mauling of the Rockwall 7ers. They broke many of those marks Tuesday with an absolute domination of the Oklahoma Panthers, winning 155-86. In what was originally scheduled to be a May 19 road game in Texas, Fire fans in attendance for the bonus home game were treated to an all-you-can-eat buffet of offensive records including club marks for most points (155), largest margin of victory (69), most assists (44), most field goals made (57) and best field goal percentage (64.8%).
The Fire had eight players in double figures and every Fire player scored at least six points. The Fire had 86 points off the bench, equalling the output of the entire Panther squad. Deshawn Munson tallied his second triple-double of the season in just the first half alone and finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Tevin Foster hit four three-pointers on his way to 22 points off the bench. K.D. Moore had 18 pts while T.J. Maston and Theo Johnson had 17 pts each. The newest member of the Fire, Ruston Hayward, scored 14 pts in his Fire debut. Hayward signed this week with Fire after playing the first half of the season with the Enid Outlaws.
Chris Brand had 12 points, six rebounds, and three blocks, while Lyle Hexom went for 11 points, seven boards, and also had three blocks. Chuck Guy handed out 12 assists along with his eight points and four steals.
Coach Mark Dannhoff was happiest with the way the Fire shared the ball, reflected in two of the records achieved by the Fire: 44 assists on 57 made field goals. “That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? I just thought that the guys shared the basketball really well. We had really good spacing, and just made the extra pass every time it presented itself.” Dannhoff added, “One thing in the first quarter, I thought we overpassed a couple of times and it led to some turnovers. We said part of being selfish is not taking your shot when you have your shot. We said if you have your shot, go ahead and take it and shoot it with confidence but continue to share the basketball. If we continue to defend, we’ll be okay on the next possessions.”
Munson’s stat line was nearly identical to his first triple-double three weeks ago and impressed Dannhoff. “Deshawn’s just been playing really well. He’s been outstanding on the glass. He’s reading the defense so much better and he’s finishing at the rim and making his free throws. Anytime he can throw some threes in (Munson was 2 of 3 from outside), you know that’s always a bonus for us.”
As one might expect, the Fire dominated most of the statistical categories: bench points (86-26); fast break points (52-9); points off turnovers (34-7); and points in the paint (90-34). The Fire led by 15 points after the first quarter and 21 points at the half (68-47). They would double that margin with another impressive third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 40-17 to take a 44-point lead to the fourth. The second half tidal wave continued in the final frame as the home team outscored the visitors 47-22 for the team record-breaking margin of 69 points.
Based on our research, the TBL record for most points in a game was earlier this season, when Gulf Coast beat Coastal Georgia 171-163 in triple overtime. The Enid Outlaws hold the margin of victory record with an 81 point win, 161-80 vs Waco Royals during their 2021 TBL title season.
The Fire will be at home on Saturday night vs Rockwall at 7 p.m. before traveling back to Wichita for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the SkyKings at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $10 for the Saturday night matchup with the 7ers and are available here.
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 as well as 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