Shreveport begins Conference Championship series with reigning TBL champs Enid

MAVS WORKOUT: The Shreveport Mavericks get some shots up during Tuesday’s shoot around at Centenary’s Gold Dome.

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Shreveport begins its The Basketball League Central Conference Championship series with Enid at Centenary’s Gold Dome tonight at 7:05 p.m.

It will be the first time since joining the TBL last season the Mavericks will play a team that it had beaten during the regular season. Last year the Mavs were eliminated by a Houston team that had defeated them four times. This year Shreveport’s second round opponent of the playoffs, Potawatomi, had beaten the Mavs both times they played in the regular season and in the first game of the playoffs.

But coach Steve Tucker warns everybody that Enid has a very good team that likes to push the pace of the game as fast as it can. The Outlaws won the overall TBL championship last year but have a different set of players.

“They are a very formidable team, they present a lot of problems,’’ said the veteran coach. “They are a little undersized so you really got to watch the tempo of the game.”

The Outlaws defeated Shreveport 139-120 in the first game the two met in Shreveport. The Mavericks returned the favor in the last regular season game of the season by defeating the Outlaws 115-108 in Enid.

“We controlled the tempo on them in the second game and that is one of the reasons why we beat them,” said Tucker. “They have a hard time with our size inside and I think that will be a big factor in this series.”

The Outlaws are similar to Potawatomi but don’t have the size inside to protect the rim like the Fire did.

“This team doesn’t have that but they present a lot of problems with their quickness and athleticism,” said Tucker. “And they have that prowess to score so we have to be very careful in controlling the pace of the game.”

Shreveport has five players averaging in double figure scoring with Paul Parks leading the way at 23.5. Paul Harrison comes in at 19.1 and Tyrone Jordan 16.9. Point guards PJ Meyers (10.7) and Alani Moore (10.1) round out the leading scorers with Meyers averaging 6.2 assists per game and Moore 4.3. Harrison leads the way in rebounds with 8.1 and Parks comes in at 6.4.

The Mavericks bench has outscored their opponent throughout the season and that shouldn’t change. The only change of late has been in the starting lineup where Tavin Cummings has taken the place of Jamal Brantley but both have been playing the same amount of minutes.

Sixth man DeAndre McIntyre will again play a key factor as he did in Saturday’s series clinching defeat of Potawatomi. McIntyre was 2-of-3 from 3 in both games against the Fire. With him in the game on Saturday it opened things up for both Parks and Harrison to do their damage. Parks scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and Harrison 16 of his 29 points in the closing two quarters.

Six foot-9 Bilal Richardson comes in to spell Harrison in the post and had 19 points and seven rebounds in Friday’s win.

Enid counters with one of the top players in the league in Ricardo Artis II who averages 21.8 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Daylon Guy averages 21.0 points a game and 9.2 assists a game and Darin Johnson scores 20.2 points a game.

Contact Lee at Lee.hiller51@gmail.com

Photo by LEE HILLER