East Lake almost made an early postseason exit.
In the Class 6A boys basketball region quarterfinals, the Eagles trailed Lehigh by a point in the final seconds.
Dionte Blanch got the ball near the sideline. Three defenders converged on him.
The Murray State signee got off the shot that swished through the next as time expired, propelling the Eagles past a two-time defending state semifinalist.
While the start of the playoffs was exhilarating, the rest of East Lake’s run was more ho-hum. The Eagles cruised to double-digit wins over Punta Gorda Charlotte and Fort Myers.
Still, the experience was memorable considering East Lake reached the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
Fans remembered, too.
The Eagles’ run was voted as the best among bay area boys basketball teams this past season. East Lake finished on top with 43.81 percent (46 votes), followed by Clearwater (24.76 percent/26 votes) and Tampa Catholic (20 percent/21 votes).