SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA — The Potawatomi Fire capped off their season-opening five-game road stretch with a thrilling 110-108 victory over the Shreveport Mavericks, earning the Fire’s fourth win in five tries. In a tense and sometimes heated contest, the Fire rallied back from as much as 12 points down to leave with the victory.

After trailing by twelve points late in the second quarter (58-46), the Fire were able to trim the deficit to six points at the half. The Fire scored the first six points of the second half and from then on, neither team held a lead of more than five points in the closely-contested final frames. The back and forth continued right to the end, as two free throws by Deon Lyle gave the Fire a five-point edge at 108-103 with 36 seconds to go. The Mavs came right back on five quick points from Bernard Parks. But two free throws from Deshawn Munson gave Potawatomi their final margin as Shreveport missed a potential winning three-pointer at the end.

For the fourth straight game, Deshawn Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) led the Fire in scoring with 32 points. Munson currently ranks second in league scoring leaders for the young TBL season, averaging nearly 30 points per game (29.6). Munson also had eight rebounds and eight assists on the night. 

Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) had another double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Deon Lyle (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) had 18 points and four rebounds. Tevin Foster (Lawton, Okla. / Abilene Christian) came off the bench to add 12 points. Anthony Allen (Kingston, Jamaica / Oklahoma State) had seven points and seven rebounds. Fire newcomer Theo Johnson (Sacramento, Calif. / College of Charleston) had six points off the bench. 

The Fire shot 51% from the field (41/79) and made 10 of 25 (40%) from outside, but again struggled from the free throw line as they shot 56% (18/32). The Fire had an edge on the glass (47-44), in points in the paint (50-42) and in bench scoring (21-17). Shreveport forced 20 Fire turnovers.

Bernard Parks led Rockwall with 31 points and seven rebounds. Paul Harrison also had 23 points and five rebounds. The TBL game on Friday was played at the Gold Dome on the Centenary College of Louisiana campus in Shreveport.

Friday night’s contest was the last of a five-game road stretch for the Potawatomi Fire to begin their inaugural season before their first home game Saturday (tonight) in Shawnee, Oklahoma at FireLake Arena. Former OU Sooner Creed Humphrey, NFL center for the Kansas City Chiefs and Shawnee’s own, will be in attendance in addition to other special events planned for the Fire’s home debut. The Fire are the first professional basketball team owned by a Native American tribe (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) in Oklahoma.

The Potawatomi Fire competes in the Central Conference of The Basketball League, a new men’s professional basketball league with 42 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.

Box score

Story by Justin Wollard • Game action photos coming soon