SHAWNEE, OKLA — Behind a combined 95 points from their starting lineup, including the eighth triple-double of the season from their All-Star point guard, the Potawatomi Fire rolled to 123-111 victory over the visiting Shreveport Mavericks. The win kept the Fire’s hopes alive for a first round bye in the upcoming TBL Playoffs. The Fire captured both matchups in the season series with Shreveport.
Deshawn Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) recorded his eighth triple-double of the season, and further added to his resume for TBL Most Valuable Player. Munson tallied 24 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds. He also was 9 of 10 from the field and had three steals for good measure. Mustapha Traore (Philadelphia, Pa. / Monmouth) led the Fire with 30 points and had four rebounds. Deon Lyle (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) continued his hot-shooting from outside, knocking down six treys on his way to 25 points. Theo Johnson (Sacramento, Calif. / Liberty) had 14 points while Tevin Foster (Lawton, Okla. / Abilene Christian) went for 12 points with three assists.
“This was a great game for us — a great team win,” said Fire head coach Derrick Rowland. “I wish we could’ve finished better but we’ll take this win over a great team. Mustapha (Traore) was excellent for us tonight and was locked in all week. We need another strong team effort tomorrow night to finish the season and head into the playoffs.”
The Fire led by six after an up and down first quarter (34-28) before taking a ten-point edge (63-53) into the break. They stretched the lead out to seventeen points (92-75) after a strong third quarter and led by as much as 25 in the fourth quarter before the Mavs chipped away in the final minutes to close the final margin. In the end, the Fire led for nearly 42 minutes of game action, but the late surge by the visitors made the score closer than the game actually had played out. The Fire shot nearly 60% from the field and again knocked 16 treys as a team. They held Shreveport to 42% shooting from the field. The Mavs controlled the boards at 54-44 but both squads struggled at the foul line: 56% for the Fire and just 60% for the Mavericks.
Tyrone Jordan led the Mavericks (18-5, 2nd TBL Central) with 27 points including six three-pointers. Paul Parks and Paul Harrison each had 19 points as well.
With the win, the Fire move to 17-6 on the year, currently in fourth place in the TBL Central. The Fire will host the Beaumont Panthers on Saturday night to close out the regular season. Depending on the results of the weekend action and various tiebreaker scenarios, the Fire could finish anywhere from second to fourth place. The top teams receive a first round bye. The Fire have qualified for the playoffs in their first season but the playoff matchups and schedule are still to be determined. Check here and our social media platforms on late Sunday night following the conclusion of the regular season for more information.
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 • Photos by Landon Kidney