ROYSE CITY, TEXAS — Less than a day after dropping a close battle with their in-state rival, the Potawatomi Fire suffered their first back-to-back loss of the season, losing 117-103 to Rockwall. The Fire turned the ball over 31 times and allowed Rockwall to shoot 61% from the field.
The Fire played the back-to-back minus a few players in their normal rotation and came off a tough battle Saturday night in Shawnee. They came out flat, trailing 32-22 after one quarter and 57-41 at the break. The Fire rallied in the second half, cutting the deficit to four points midway through the fourth quarter. But the 7ers pulled away late and held on for their first win in the team’s six matchups. While the Fire did make 21 of 25 (84%) of their free throws, they trailed Rockwall in most categories including field goal percentage (61-53%), steals (18-7), points in the paint (66-42) and fast-break points (29-3).
Anthony Allen (Kingston, Jamaica / Oklahoma State) led the Fire with his 11th double-double of the season, with 21 points and 13 rebounds. He also had at least four blocks despite no blocks being recorded in the box score. Theo Johnson (Sacramento, Calif. / College of Charleston) had 20 points and four rebounds. Deverell Biggs (Omaha, Neb. / Texas Southern) recorded 16 points with four boards and three assists. Deshawn Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) had 14 points, nine assists, and four rebounds. Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) and Deon Lyle (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) each had 10 points.
Quinn Taylor led the 7ers with 38 points. The Fire fall to 14-6 and remain in third place, pending the results of the weekend games.
Having navigated the majority of the considerably unbalanced TBL schedule that saw the Fire play teams like Enid, Little Rock, and Rockwall six times each and not once play other teams in their conference such as Dallas and Waco, the Fire now prepare for a trio of largely unfamiliar opponents over the final two weeks as they get ready for the playoffs. The Fire will look to snap their first losing streak of the year while on the road next weekend in south Texas, visiting Sugar Land on Saturday and Beaumont on Sunday. Saturday’s game tips at 5 p.m. while Sunday’s contest tips off 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