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[12] March 12, 2010



Fusion on the court


Be sure to check back in coming weeks for season previews on local baseball, softball, track & field, tennis and soccer teams.


# Senior/guard



# Senior/guard






Indians get hot at right time, ride streak to state tournament BY ADAM MCFADDEN



Check daily for updates on how Renton is performing at the 3A state tournament


Nate Burleson has signed with the Detroit Lions for five years and $25 million. Burleson caught 63 passes for 812 yards and three touchdowns for the Seahawks last season.

Contact and submissions: Adam McFadden or 425.255.3484, ext. 5054

In basketball there's talent, experience and hard work. For Renton senior guards Achoki Moikobu, Joseph Powell and Hanley Shum, it's the fusion of all three that has led to something special. It hasn't been a typical Renton basketball season. The team that is used to putting up dominant records and making state runs found itself with a 10-11 record moving into the playoffs. "The big move for most of us was realizing that we can lose," Powell said. "A lot of these players came into the season with the mentality that we've always won the Seamount and we've always had good records, so we were expecting it to be handed to us. After we lost some games. we got to the point where we had to win or our season was over and it actually clicked in that we had to really play." Since things clicked the Indians extended their season by winning four of five games in the bi-district tournament, good enough to move on to the state tournament. And that's in large part due to the contributions of the three senior

guards. Moikobu leads the team in scoring this season at 13.6 points per game, Shum's hot shooting has allowed the team to get out to quick starts in the playoffs, and Powell's quickness has helped on both ends of the floor – not to mention his clutch scoring. All three are friends off the court. Powell and Shum have played together since their freshman year; Moikobu joined the team his sophomore year. "We've played with each other for so long we've got that chemistry," Shum said. "Sometimes it's like we can read each other's minds with our cuts and passes." Trusting teammates is essential as the Indians navigate through the playoffs where every mistake is magnified and the margin of error is slim. The team's five playoff games have been decided by an average of 3.4 points. After missing state last season, the seniors weren't about to let the team miss the tournament in back-to-back years for the first time since 2002-2003. "I wanted to get back more than anything," Moikobu said. "It was all I could think about.

Pre-termination hearing set between Popich and district BY ADAM MCFADDEN

A pre-termination hearing between the Renton School District and Lindbergh wrestling coach Joe Popich is set for March 15. District human resources recommended Popich be terminated as head wrestling coach at Lindbergh, according to a letter sent to Popich Feb. 19. The Renton Reporter obtained the letter through a public records

request. Ray and Caroline Garcia originally brought to light accusations of misconduct within the team. "The reasons for the recommended dismissal stem from complaints filed by Mr. and Mrs. Garcia regarding the treatment of their sons in the wrestling program, which included alleging that you supplied one of their sons and other students on the team with 'pills' last year," the letter reads. In a statement, Popich denied the

Photos and illustration by ADAM MCFADDEN


Indians’ state games


Renton played in the first round of the 3A state basketball tournament Wednesday at 7 p.m. The tournament is double elimination and runs through Saturday. Check Rentonreporter. com for updates. Here is the lower half of the bracket, with possible games through Friday: March 12 March 11

March 10

March 11 March 12

Meadowdale 19-6 Enumclaw 24-0 12:00

Foster 16-8


Bellevue 22-3



Renton 14-12 Shadle Park 20-4 2:00

O’Dea 20-7


Mt. Rainier 18-7

Once we got in, it's like I can finally breathe." The Indians played Shadle Park in the first round of the state tournament Wednesday at 7 p.m. Results were not available by deadline.

district's allegations and questioned Randy Matheson, district spokesthe investigation. man, said in an earlier interview "I never gave pills, medithat nearly the entire Lindcation or vitamins to any wrestling team signed COMMENT bergh children," the statement a petition asking the district reads. "Though I underto reinstate Popich. The stand the difficult position district "heard the students," PNW.CC/1PF Matheson that the District is in, their said at the time. comments and actions were However, he said the premature and I feel if they had district's decision "will be based on used an independent investigator the legal requirements for holding the results would have been much that job." different." The handbook given to every Although Popich has not been coach states that they do not give terminated, he is not currently emointments, vitamins or medication ployed by the district since he is not to any student athlete, he said. a teacher and his coaching contract Such treatment can only be done has run out for this season. by authorized personnel, such as a Popich plans to attend the nurse and only if there is parental hearing and "contest any negative permission. The permission also result," according to the statement. [ more POPICH page 13 ]


Sports section cover March 12, 2010