Before the start of the annual ‘Ice Breaker’ invitational basketball tournament at Mark Isfeld Secondary, Thaskani Mtawali and Hayden Fieret said the senior boys team has made significant inroads since last year.
“I think height-wise, we’re shorter than last year, but we can shoot way better,” Mtawali said. “Our energy on the floor is way higher. I think that’s what we’re going to bring that’s different than last year.”
“A lot more confident,” added Fieret.
Mtawali and Fieret are two of the leaders of the Isfeld Ice, which cruised to an 88-55 win over St. Jean Brebeuf of Abbotsford on opening day Friday. After a slow start leading 12-8 midway through the first quarter, the Ice went on three runs of 8-0, 14-2 and 7-0 to lead at the half, 53-28. Thaskani led the team with 25 points. His brother Temwa (Grade 9) added 16 points, and Aiden McDonald (Grade 10) had 12. The host side combined for 13 threes in the game.
In a Saturday semi-final, Isfeld battled to a 75-62 win over a tough, physical side from Brentwood College, a ranked double-A team. Leading 33-27 at the half, the Ice out-scored Brentwood by 12 in the third quarter to go up 56-38. The boys hit for a season high of 15 threes. Thaskani again led the team with 27 points, McDonald scored 19 on five made threes, and Dawson Fox had 12 points.
In the final, Isfeld faced the Brookswood Bobcats of Langley — another tough, physical team. The visitors held a 13-10 advantage after the first quarter. In the second, McDonald and Thaskani combined for 17 points en route to a 36-18 lead at the break. The Ice followed with a solid second half to cap the championship with a 71-49 win. Thaskani finished the game with 27 points, and McDonald 18 points.
In the latest provincial rankings, Isfeld is number six among triple-A high school basketball teams in B.C.
The team opened league play Tuesday at home against crosstown rival Vanier — an honourable mention in the triple-A rankings. This weekend, the Ice competes at the Santa Slam in Victoria.