Whether it was a void in first-half rebounding, turnovers in the fourth quarter or just a plain lack of overall structure, the margin between a Palm Harbor victory or loss to East Lake was slim Wednesday night. Two points to be exact.
After losing their final regular-season home game 34-32, those two points proved meaningful.
They turned out to be the difference between a potentially respectable fourth-place Pinellas County Athletic Conference North Division finish and the seventh-place it will end up with.
For East Lake (12-6), the win means more.
"It gives us some momentum going into districts," Eagles coach Joe O'Neill said.
The momentum came from the East Lake bench, which O'Neill challenged in the second half. The Hurricanes (8-15) took an 8-0 lead and controlled the pace of the game until the fourth quarter.
Junior varsity call-up Tara Miller gave the Eagles a 30-29 lead with two of her five points halfway through the final quarter.
Freshman Kelleigh O'Neill came off the bench to lead the team with nine points, including one of her two three-pointers that gave East Lake a 33-30 lead with three minutes left.
Palm Harbor missed chances to tie the game in the final minute with an errant free throw as well as an errant pass.
Stephanie Peacock, assiduous with her post play all night, turned in game-bests with 11 points and eight rebounds.
East Lake took its first lead at halftime 19-16 as Kelleigh O'Neill hit her first three-pointer. That paved the way for the Eagles' reserves to combine for 21 points.