MESQUITE, TEXAS — Following their first loss Friday, the Potawatomi Fire responded in their first back-to-back of the season with a solid 108-92 win over the Rockwall 7ers. The Fire turned an early deficit of 13 points in the second quarter into a six-point edge at the half (46-40). A strong 33-point third quarter pushed the Fire to their third victory of the young season. The Fire again used a decisive edge on the boards (47-28) as well as points in the paint (54-32) helping them to victory. Potawatomi also outshot the Rockwell squad from the field 61% to 41%.
For the third straight game, Deshawn Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) led the Fire in scoring with 34 points. Munson also had six rebounds. Tevin Foster (Lawton, Okla. / Abilene Christian) came off the bench to add 18 points. Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) had 15 points. Seven-footer Leon Hampton (Jackson, Miss. / Stillman College) had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Former OU Sooner David Godbold (Oklahoma City) and Fire recent addition C.J. Carter (Omaha, Neb. / Omaha) each had eight points, with Godbold also grabbing 10 rebounds. Anthony Allen (Kingston, Jamaica / Oklahoma State) had six boards and six points.
“We showed some character today, after a tough loss last night,” said Fire head coach Derrick Rowland. “That’s what I’m looking for in my players. We could’ve made excuses today after the loss and quick turnaround, but we came out and we fought hard. It wasn’t easy, even though we won by sixteen. These teams come after us and they play hard too.”
Rowland added that 43 points from the Fire bench players were a key to victory. “Had we got a little something from our bench last night and it may have been a different outcome. You need two teams to play in this league — you can’t just have your starting five. It’s a physical game, hard-fought and guys get fatigued. When we go to the bench, we have to have productivity or as we saw last night, a lead will evaporate quickly,” Rowland said.
Sean Gardner led Rockwall with 33 points and six rebounds. This was the second contest for the Fire against the 7ers in eight days, with the Fire also taking the first matchup as well. The game Saturday was played at Dallas Christian School in Mesquite, Texas, southwest of Rockwall.
Saturday’s contest was the fourth of a five-game road stretch for the Potawatomi Fire to begin their inaugural season before their first home game in Shawnee, Oklahoma at FireLake Arena on March 19. The last of the five road games for the Fire will be Friday night, March 18 in Shreveport, Louisiana, when they take on the Shreveport Mavericks. The Fire are the first professional basketball team owned by a Native American tribe (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) in Oklahoma.
The Potawatomi Fire compete in the Central Conference of The Basketball League, a new men’s professional basketball league with 45 teams in 20 different states across the country. The TBL season begins in March and runs through June, concluding with a championship tournament. The players that make up the rosters of the TBL teams are former NCAA (Division I to III) or NAIA athletes. Many have played in the NBA or NBA’s G-League as well as professionally overseas for several years and are continuing their careers closer to home.
Story by Justin Wollard • Photos by Landon Kidney