SAN DIEGO — Tuesday's City Western League showdown between Kearny and University high schools will not be remembered for its level of excellence. Nor will it be remembered for its fine execution.
But it will be remembered for its bizarre twists that turned the league race into a three-team affair with two games remaining.
If University doesn't win the championship, it may be because it was called for six technicals Tuesday.
Kearny scored five points from the technicals, and went on to beat the Dons, 58-56 at University. The loss prevented the Dons from clinching a tie for the title.
University is 7-1. Kearny and La Jolla are tied for second at 6-2. La Jolla plays at University next Wednesday on the final day of the regular season.
Meanwhile, Tuesday's game, left both coaches dazed.
"I'm speechless, it was unreal," Kearny Coach Bill Peterson said. "And I've always got something to say after a game. But not after this one. That one was something else."
University Coach Pat Murphy said: "It was bizarre. The officiating in San Diego is bizarre. You never know what to expect . . . I'll leave it at that."
University drew its first technical before the game started when the officials caught James Wilson dunking the ball during warmups.
"It was a phantom dunk," Murphy insisted. "James does that every game. He goes up and lays the ball over the rim. He's never been called for it before."
Kearny's Steve Daley sank the free throw to make it 1-0. The Komets also got possession at midcourt instead of the traditional center jump and promptly made it 3-0.
The Dons drew a bench technical in the second quarter, and Murphy and player John Turner drew technicals in the third quarter when Kearny broke a halftime tie to lead 46-41 after three quarters. All the technicals were for yelling at officials.
University battled back to tie the game at 54-54, but the Komets appeared to have the game won when Kevin Archer hit two free throws give Kearny a four-point lead with 10 seconds left.
But University's Sean Giles scored with four seconds remaining, cutting the lead to 58-56.
With two seconds left, two Don players called time. But University was out of timeouts and was assessed with two more technicals.
Daley, an 80% foul shooter, missed both shots. Then the Komets threw the inbounds pass out of bounds to give University the ball with one second left. But a 35-foot shot by Giles missed, and the Komets were back in the race.
"I was sitting there with one second left thinking we going to lose it," Peterson said. "We've lost some tough games in the final moments this year, and we never seem to get any breaks."
The Komets did Tuesday. They also got some outstanding performances.
Daley scored a game-high 23 points and also had 12 rebounds. Archer had 20 points and 10 rebounds and John Williams added 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Giles led University with 20 points, James Wilson scored 12 and Brian Schmitt had 10.
University (15-7), shot 36% from the field (23 of 64) and the more selective Komets shot 44% (18 of 41).
But the Komets (15-9) won the game at the free throw line by converting 22 of 33 chances. University was 10 of 18.