Shreveport Mavericks send Potawatomi back to Oklahoma with nothing but memories

MAVS TIPOFF: Shreveport Maverick Paul Harrison (50) and Potawatomi center Anthony Allen tip off Saturday’s game three decider. 

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Potawatomi fans arrived at Centenary’s Gold Dome Friday with brooms in their hands. They left Saturday night with nothing more than a reminder of what a good season they just finished.

The Fire had defeated the Shreveport Mavericks in game-one of a best-of-three series in The Basketball League Central Conference playoffs and needed just to win one of two possible games at Centenary’s Gold Dome.

The Mavericks responded like they have for most of the 2022 season, with dominating wins. Friday’s final tally was 120-107 Shreveport and Saturday the Mavs prevailed 120-110.

Shreveport won the deciding game getting big performances from its dynamic duo of Paul Harrison (29 points, eight rebounds) and Paul Parks (22 points, five rebounds and six assists). Alani Moore joined them with 20 points plus eight rebounds, Tyrone Jordan added 13 points, PJ Meyers  pitched in11 points and six assists and Jamal Brantley contributed 10 points.

The Mavericks took over the lead late in the first quarter and never trailed with Moore scoring 11 points in the first stanza and finishing the first half with 17. The Fire kept it close and reduced a six-point first quarter deficit (31-25) to five, 50-45, at the half.

Shreveport led with Parks only scoring two points in the first half, but DeAndre McIntyre was inserted in the starting lineup in the second half.

 “I put Dre’ (McIntyre) in the game to open things up for Paul (Parks),” said coach Steve Tucker. “I took big Paul (Harrison) out in the first half and told him he was going to have to play inside if he wanted to stay in the game (in the second half).”

The move set things up for Parks and Harrison to do their damage. Parks scored 14 and Harrison nine as the hosts increased their lead to 13 (89-76) after three quarters.

PJ Meyers also started the second half at the point and scored nine of his 11 points and delivered four of his six assists — all without committing a turnover in the game.

“I thought PJ did a phenomenal job the second half,’’ said Tucker. “Everybody played great. We just played a couple of great games here at home.”

The lead grew to as much as 19 (109-90) in the final quarter. The closest the Fire was able to get was 10 in the last minute of the game.

DeShawn Munson led all scorers in the game for Potawatomi with 40 points and added 13 rebounds and eight assists. Deon Lyle had 19 points, Tevin Foster and Theo Johnson 12 each and Mustapha Traore 11.

Friday’s game was much the same with the Shreveport bench playing a key role by outscoring Potawatomi 49-30. Bilal Richardson was a big reason tying Parks in scoring honors with 19 points. McIntyre (11 points) and Brantley (10) both came off the bench to make big contributions. Tyrone Jordan tallied 18, Tavin Cummings got a rare start and scored 15 and Harrison had 13. Parks led the Mavs with 10 rebounds and Richardson added seven. Moore was the main facilitator, feeding Richardson with eight assists.

Munson again led the Fire with 35 points and 12 rebounds and seven assists. It was the first game in the last six he did not record a triple-double. Foster hit six-of-10 3-pointers and finished with 25 points and Johnson had 17 points, eight rebounds.

The Mavericks advance to the Central Conference Finals against the TBL defending champion Enid Outlaws. The first game of the best-of-three series will be Wednesday at the Gold Dome. Games two and three will be played Friday and if necessary Saturday at Enid.

Photo by LEE HILLER