The on-court action from the Division I, Section III boys basketball championship game wasn't all that exciting on Saturday night.
Top-ranked Corona del Sol slowly built up a lead and cruised to a 65-44 win over No. 10 Red Mountain.
The real fireworks came from Lions coach Greg Sessions on the bench and outside the locker room.
He was given two separate technicals in the game, the initial one in the first quarter and the second resulting in an ejection with 5:46 remaining in the contest.
Sessions was upset afterward for two reasons: He disagreed with the second technical and was miffed that a referee unaccustomed to working boys games was officiating.
Sessions will be suspended for the second round of the state tournament because the Mountain Lions finished in the top-8 of Division I and will have a first-round bye. Coaches are generally reprimanded by the Arizona Interscholastic Association for speaking negatively of the officials, but Sessions didn't hold back.
"I can speak a lot," Sessions said. "I'm already (suspended). What are they going to do?"
A referee was held over from the preceding girls game between Highland and Red Mountain because one of the scheduled officials for the boys contest failed to show up. Sessions said he was not given an explanation beforehand.
"I was never told a word about our refereeing situation," he said. "I have never played a playoff game in which a referee from the girls game was held over to referee the boys game. If that's what the AIA thinks the biggest game in the section of the year should present, then I'd like to have an explanation from the AIA of what they were trying to accomplish."
He was unhappy that both teams were put in the predicament.
"The AIA asks us to show up, and there are penalties and repercussions when we don't show up, and the AIA doesn't show up for us," Sessions said.
Sessions received his first technical for arguing a foul on Justin Park, who seemed to have a clean block on Corona del Sol guard Calaen Robinson's lay-up attempt. Sessions said that technical was justified, but he was unhappy he was tossed in the fourth after reacting to a charging call.
"I would like to know the referee's reason for ejecting me," he said. "I can tell you right now, and I would love for it to be in the paper, that I sat on the bench like I was told to, and when a call that I did not agree with happened on the court at a loud moment in the game, I said, ‘No.' That's it. That is 100 percent, the absolute sworn truth.
"I thought my kid got clobbered. I thought my kid got knocked into the kid and they called a charge on my kid. I disagreed with the call, and I said one word, two letters: No. No other words."
Sessions said he isn't too worried about the suspension because assistant coach Scott Newendyke will do an admirable job in his place, but he believes his players were cheated by the unsettled referee situation.
"My fate? Who cares?" Sessions said. "I can coach as many games as I want to coach. But for these kids, they deserved better. These players deserved better than they got from the AIA tonight."
Another dose of bad news for Red Mountain came when starting guard Kevin Torres sprained his ankle in the first quarter and didn't return. He is expected to be back for the state tournament.
As for the game, Casey Benson had 14 points to lead Corona del Sol and Calaen Robinson added 13. Andrus Peat had 10 points and six rebounds and the Aztecs used an effective 1-3-1 zone to cause several turnovers.
Corona del Sol has won 26 straight games and will enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed and state title favorite.
"It's nice to go in on a roll and playing well," Corona coach Sam Duane said. "Now we've got a week to prepare, get some rest and get everybody ready to go."