SHAWNEE, OKLA. — Despite a triple-double from TBL’s reigning Player of the Week Deshawn Munson, the second time around was unfortunately much like the first for the Potawatomi Fire versus their in-state rivals, the Enid Outlaws. A close, intensely-fought battle with some curious decisions late and missed opportunities at the foul line, resulted in the Fire falling to Enid, 103-99 Friday night at FireLake Arena.
Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe), who earlier in the week was named The Basketball League Player of the Week, tallied 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting, with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Deon Lyle (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) had 21 points and six boards. Anthony Allen (Kingston, Jamaica / Oklahoma State) registered a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) and Tevin Foster (Lawton, Okla. / Abilene Christian) each added 13 points.
While the Fire held an edge in field goal shooting at 39 of 76 (51%) and a narrow margin in rebounds (49-46), their struggles from the foul line continued Friday with the Fire shooting just 52% (13/25). The Outlaws also forced 18 Fire turnovers, while committing 11. Enid also led in bench points 39-25, with the Fire leading in points in the paint at 58-44.
After leading after one quarter by three (25-22), the Fire allowed 36 points and trailed at halftime 58-49. A four-point edge in the third quarter cut the margin to five (81-76) heading to the fourth quarter. An intense final frame saw the Fire grab a one-point lead (99-98) with just under 90 seconds remaining. But a couple of Fire turnovers and calls that didn’t go the Fire’s way down the stretch extinguished the hope of a home rivalry victory.
The Potawatomi Fire is the first professional basketball team owned by a Native American tribe (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) in Oklahoma. The Fire competes in the Central Conference of The Basketball League (TBL), a new men’s professional basketball league with 44 teams in over 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