SEMINOLE — Led by Kyle Mogged, East Lake built leads as high as 14 points and then staved off Clearwater 51-48 as Trevor Godfrey had a hustling putback with 6.2 seconds left.
The victory puts the Eagles (15-8) in the finals against host Seminole.
“It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword, but I just went out there and gave it my all,” said Mogged, who finished with 16 points, seven assists and three steals while making several turnovers before fouling out with 1:23 left.
“Kyle took over,” said Eagles coach Joe Bloznalis. “He’s such a hard-nosed defender and he really pushes our offense.”
Mogged scored all but three of East Lake’s 15 second-quarter points with a variety of twisting drives to the hoop that, more often than not, got him knocked to the floor.
Trevor Schnell (18 points, including four 3-pointers,) received several passes from Mogged while his final assist led to Godfrey’s 3 with 1:46 left to give East Lake a four-point lead.
Clearwater (12-14) crept close behind forward Rasim Avmet (team-high 13 points) plus key buckets from Josh Wilson (seven points) and Ryan Ierna (11 points), whose putback with 20 seconds left knotted the contest at 48.
“We played pretty good defense, but we gave up too many second and third chances,” Bloznalis said.
East Lake will face the top-seeded Warhawks, who picked apart Northeast’s defense, rolling to leads as large as 24 points before easing to a 72-60 triumph.
In the other semifinal, Seminole (18-3) easily played over the top of the smaller Vikings (5-19), racking up 18 assists on its 25 baskets led by five each from Connor Frain (12 points, seven rebounds) and Marco Behori (15 points, eight rebounds).
Tanner Cowan led Seminole with 19 points, while T.J. Frounfelter finished with 15 including a 5-for-8 effort from behind the arc.
Behind the play of point guard Keith Harrington, Northeast closed to eight on three occasions but couldn’t get closer. Harrington (18 points), Eric Pederson (25 points, including six 3-pointers) and D’Angelo Body (12 points, 10 in the fourth quarter) sparked a 28-point final period for the underdogs.
“Mentally, we kind of lost interest in the fourth quarter,” Warhawks coach Josh Walker said. “We can’t do that against East Lake. If we don’t play 32 minutes against them, we won’t have a chance.”