PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS — In the final regular season road game of their inaugural campaign, the Potawatomi Fire used stellar shooting from outside and the charity stripe along with great ball movement to score a 132-120 victory over the Beaumont Panthers. The Fire knocked down 16 of 30 three-pointers (53%) and were 24 of 27 (89%) from the free throw line to score the win.
Deon Lyle (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) had a season-high 33 points, including a franchise-record nine three pointers, to lead the Fire. Deshawn Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) missed out on another triple-double, but still topped his own club record for assists. Munson tallied 17 assists, breaking his earlier mark of 15 dimes. The All-Star guard also logged 22 points, eight rebounds, and three steals.
Tevin Foster (Lawton, Okla. / Abilene Christian) had another strong showing off the bench, with 26 points including 3 of 4 from outside. Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) had 17 points and eight rebounds, while Theo Johnson (Sacramento, Calif. / Liberty) also had 17 points and two steals.
The Fire came out hot in the first quarter, racing to a 39-27 edge. The teams were even over the next three quarters, with the Fire scoring 32-30-31 in those frames and the Panthers at 32-29-32. Beaumont made a spirited push in the fourth quarter to get to within six points. The intensity and tension boiled over, resulting in a scuffle that led to technicals and ejections for both squads.
The two teams were also near equals across many of the stat categories. Two-point field goals (Fire: 30/54 = 56% to Panthers: 30/53 = 57%); three-point field goals (Fire: 16/30 = 53% to Panthers: 14/32 = 44%); rebounds (Fire 35 to Panthers 33). The difference for the Fire ended up being at the foul line, with the Fire making six more free throws to go along with two more made three-pointers.
Beaumont was led by Lyle Hexom, who had 41 points and also made nine three-pointers. Sunday’s game was played at Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas.
With the win, the Fire move to 16-6 on the year, currently in fourth place in the TBL Central and a game back of the Dallas Skyline. The Fire will host second-place Shreveport for the first time this season on Friday, May 27 before rematching with the Beaumont Panthers on Saturday night to close out the regular season. The Fire have qualified for the playoffs in their first season but the playoff matchups and schedule are still to be determined based on the final weekend results.
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