Temwa Mtawali (left) has played on Isfeld’s senior boys’ basketball team since Grade 9, and Kye Kotapski-Tinga (right) captained the junior Ice team last year. Colin Cunningham photos

Temwa Mtawali (left) has played on Isfeld’s senior boys’ basketball team since Grade 9, and Kye Kotapski-Tinga (right) captained the junior Ice team last year. Colin Cunningham photos

Courtenay basketball players listed among top 15 in B.C.

Temwa Mtwali and Kye Kotapski-Tinga of Isfeld crack prestigious ranking

Two basketball players at Isfeld Secondary in Courtenay have been listed in the Varsity Letters top 15 prospects for B.C. triple-A schools for the 2021-22 season.

Temwa Mtwali and Kye Kotapski-Tinga both play in the point guard position, and are both in Grade 11.

Temwa has played on the senior boys’ team since Grade 9, joining older brother Thaskani in the 2018/19 season. He led the Ice in scoring throughout the regular season last year, and at the 2020 provincial tournament.

READ: Courtenay school finishes B.C. basketball tournament on high note

Kye captained the junior Ice team last year.

“Between the two of them, I think they might be the best backcourt on the Island, any division,” senior boys’ coach Kent Milburn said.

Isfeld athletic director Colin Cunningham notes that Kye and Temwa have played basketball together since their days at École Robb Road Elementary. He said the top 15 mention is well deserved, considering how hard they have worked, on and off the court, during the pandemic.

“I would say that they have taken the disappointment of not having a basketball season this year and turned it into motivation,” Cunningham said. “They are pushing each other every day to get better. Temwa and Kye have shown dedication all year in their fitness training in the weight room, and are committed to improving their skills as basketball players.”

Duncan Whetter, a fellow Grade 11 who joined the senior team at the 2020 B.C. championships, has also been working hard in the off-season as he prepares for a future playing post-secondary football. Cunningham expects he will be a big part of the senior boys’ basketball team next year.

“The team should also have a large supporting cast of talented players,” Cunningham said.

Milburn is also excited about the group of Grade 10 players who will be seniors next year.

Varsity Letters tells stories about student-athletes and coaches in B.C. high school and university sports. It’s authored by Howard Tsumura, who covered the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies at The Province newspaper. VarsityLetters.ca