SHAWNEE, OKLA. — With eight players scoring in double figures, the Potawatomi Fire got the second half of their debut campaign off to a blazing start. The Fire scored a season high for points and coasted to a 127-104 victory over the Rockwall 7ers, giving the Fire their tenth win of the season.
Deon Lyle (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) returned from an injury absence to lead the balanced Fire storm with 19 points including 4 of 8 from outside. Deshawn Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) notched his fourth triple double of the season: 12 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists. Tevin Foster (Lawton, Okla. / Abilene Christian) led the bench barrage with 18 points. The Fire dominated the 7ers in bench scoring, 55-21.
All five of the Fire starters scored in double figures. In addition to Munson and Lyle, Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) had 16 points, four rebounds and five assists. David Godbold (Oklahoma City, Okla. / Oklahoma) added 14 points and six rebounds while Anthony Allen (Kingston, Jamaica / Oklahoma State) had 11 points and seven boards.
Dwayne Lathan (Ruston, La. / Indiana State) had 13 points off the bench. New Fire signees and former Oklahoma Baptist stars Brantly Thompson (Tuttle, Okla.) and Harrison Stoddart (Edmond, Okla.) completed the Fire scoring with eight and four points, respectively. Drelan Tripplett (Oklahoma City, Okla. / York (Neb.) College) was the lone Fire player not to score but contributed two boards, two assists and a block and steal.
Head coach Derrick Rowland praised his team’s performance following the game. “This was a great start to the second half of the season,” he said. “The guys were motivated and came ready to play from the start. The two-week break helped us recharge and get healthy. Our bench really stepped up, including our new guys (from OBU) who fit right in. Just a total team effort all around but especially from our guards.”
An eight point Fire lead after one quarter, the home team pushed their lead to twenty at the break (65-45) and 25 after three quarters (96-71). The Fire knocked down 13 of 28 three-pointers compared to just four for the 7ers. The glass belonged to the Fire (55-41) as did the assists category (28-10) and field goal percentage (56-43%)
Quinn Taylor and Sean Gardner led Rockwall in scoring, with 24 and 22 points respectively.
The Potawatomi victory on Friday night keeps them in a second place tie with Enid in the TBL Central Conference at 10-3, trailing Shreveport by a half game. The Fire are right back in action tomorrow night (Saturday) when they take on the Sugal Land Imperials for the first time this season. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
The Potawatomi 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 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 began 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 • More photos coming later