Practice.

That’s what Jackson Lesure of Lake Region thought about when he stepped to the foul line with 7.1 seconds remaining and his team leading Spruce Mountain by a point in their Western Class B boys’ basketball quarterfinal matchup Saturday.

“I was just trying to not put too much pressure on myself,” he said. “I just wanted to get my routine down, you know. Keep my legs down, get my hand under the ball, just play basketball.

“Everything I’ve done in the past, shooting by myself in the gym. I just had to make some free throws.”

And he did.

Lesure’s two foul shots helped the fourth-ranked Lakers hold on for a 41-37 victory over the fifth-seeded Phoenix at the Portland Expo.

Lake Region (14-5) never trailed after scoring the first eight points, but Spruce Mountain (11-8) had a chance to take the lead in the final 10 seconds.

“We made the plays when we needed to make them,” said Lakers Coach J.P. Yorkey. “We bent but we didn’t break, I guess.”

Lake Region will play top-ranked Yarmouth in the semifinals at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The Phoenix used a stifling press to get back into the game after their slow start, forcing 21 turnovers.

But Spruce Mountain also struggled against Lake Region’s defense, with 19 turnovers of its own.

The Lakers closed the third quarter with a 6-0 run – Nate Smith with two big baskets (he had eight of his 10 in the second half) – to take a 28-19 lead into the fourth.

There they increased the lead to 33-23 when Nick Hall (team-high 13 points) rebounded a missed Lesure foul shot and scored.

Then Spruce Mountain began its comeback.

Peter Theriault scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the final quarter, his jumper from the top of key bringing the Phoenix within 38-37 with 27 seconds left.

Following two missed Lake Region foul shots, Spruce Mountain had a chance for the lead. But Tyler Kachnovich’s 3-pointer from the left wing was off and Lesure got the rebound.

“That was the story of the game, the story of our season, actually,” said Spruce Mountain Coach Scott Bessey. “We’re a championship-level defensive team but it’s always been coming down to making shots. That’s where we struggled all season.”

But, the coach added, Kachnovich was the one player he wanted taking that shot.

“I thought for sure it was going down,” he said. “If you were going to give me one shot, Tyler Kachnovich wide open, down two, with 15 seconds left, if you told me I’d have that opportunity before the game, I’d take it. He’d make 9 of 10 of those.”

The Lakers held on because, Yorkey said, they played pretty good defense. “We finished well,” he said. “That’s something we had to learn to do.”