HOUSTON, TEXAS — The Potawatomi Fire got back to their winning ways with a 131-97 blowout win over the Sugar Land Imperials, behind seven players in double figures. The win, the 15th of the year for the first-year franchise, snapped their only losing streak (two games) of the season
“We stepped up and showed aggressiveness, especially in the second half. We picked up the defensive intensity and made a few adjustments which made a world of difference,” said Fire head coach Derrick Rowland. “We needed a good game, after last week, for our confidence. We got great production from a lot of guys and our bench really stepped up. We need the same intensity and play that we showed in the second half, from the start in tomorrow’s game.”
Deshawn Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) had 21 points, 8 assists, 4 steals, and 4 rebounds. Deon Lyle (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) also had 21 points including three triples and four rebounds. Tevin Foster (Lawton, Okla. / Abilene Christian) had 19 points off the bench and made four of nine from outside. Deverell Biggs (Omaha, Neb. / Texas Southern) was a stat sheet stuffer, with 19 points, five boards, five assists, and four steals.
Former OU Sooner David Godbold (Oklahoma City, Okla.) returned from participating in the USA Basketball 3×3 tournament in Springfield, Mass. last weekend, to contribute 15 points, eight rebounds, and two steals. Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) had 13 points and five rebounds. Anthony Allen (Kingston, Jamaica / Oklahoma State) notched his 12th double-double of the season, with 10 points and 14 rebounds. “Ant” also swatted away five shots.
The Fire shot 55% from the field, including ten baskets from beyond the arc. They also held the Imperials to 41% shooting, improving upon that defensive statistic from the previous weekend’s losses. Potawatomi controlled the boards at 47-34 and also blocked eight shots. The Fire dished out 26 assists compared to 12 for Sugar Land. The Fire led 31-24 after the first quarter. The Imperials closed the gap in the second but the Fire still led by three (58-55) at the intermission. A big second half (36-26 in 3rd, 37-16 in 4th) propelled the Fire to the big win.
John Mouton and Chad Bowie led the Imperials with 18 points each. Saturday’s game was played at Lutheran South Academy in southeast Houston.
The Fire stand at 15-6 on the year, currently in fourth place at a half game back of the Dallas Skyline. The Fire continue on their southern Texas road swing on Sunday evening. Having played teams like Enid, Little Rock and Rockwall six times each and not once playing teams such as Dallas and Waco, the Fire — in their final road regular season contest — will be facing a new opponent in the Beaumont Panthers, with tip 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 • Photo by Landon Kidney