The DuKane Conference championship might not be decided this week.
But it's pretty close.
St. Charles North and St. Charles East have been on a collision course for several weeks as both sit at 9-1 in the conference. Their second matchup of the season on Feb. 14 will go a long way to deciding who wears the crown.
Not that either team needs that reminder.
"We know how important [this is]," St. Charles North senior point guard Luke Scheffers said. "We know the conference standings [matter], but again, pride, St. Charles East-St. Charles North. That's a big factor as well.
"We're just looking [to have] a good week of practice and then get ready to just play our game," Scheffers continued. "We're just worried about playing a basketball game on Friday, making sure that it is a successful one."
Zack Clodi and the Saints, meanwhile, are trying to treat it "as a normal game."
"We've played with these kids; we've played against these kids our whole lives," Clodi said. "We know we're both 9-1 in conference, so whoever wins this takes the lead and runs it out from there.
"Obviously, that's in our heads," Clodi continued. "But we've won 10 in a row. We want to just keep what we're doing going. And just trust the process."
The North Stars gritted out a 65-53 win over the Saints in December.
Scheffers missed the second half of North's last game, a 45-22 loss to Peoria Notre Dame on Feb. 8, with a twisted right ankle. Scheffers is expected to play and start against East.
"I've been icing it; I've got some stim treatment on it to kind of loosen up all the ligaments. ... It's starting to feel a lot better, so I'll be 100 percent ready to go," Scheffers said.
East's up-tempo system and trap-minded defensive style is no secret.
"We want to run the whole game. We want to run people out of the gym," Clodi said. "We like to expose people if they don't have a deep bench. North does a good job of having the shooters come off the bench and hitting big shots. So we just want to hit our shots and make North tired so they don't hit theirs."
The North Stars, however, could look to counter by pounding it inside to Bradley commit Connor Linke, who can then pass it out to the wing for a number of capable shooters in Scheffers, Christian Czerniak and Colin Nelson to take advantage.
"Colin's just a phenomenal spot-up shooter," Scheffers said. "Christian's more of a versatile point guard. I like to say we've got two point guards. Colin is a phenomenal shooter; he does a lot of other great things, too, but Christian is more of a ball-handler than Colin is, in my sense."
"Colin is going to be really important because he can space the floor. A lot of times, [defenses aren't] helping off of him, so that spaces the floor for me and Christian to get downhill, to attract [attention] and read the defense a lot better."
St. Charles East has three conference matchups after the game with North. The Saints host Batavia on Feb. 18, play at Wheaton North on Feb. 21 and conclude the regular season with Lake Park.
St. Charles North hosts Glenbard North on Feb. 18, goes on the road to Batavia on Feb. 21 and hosts Wheaton Warrenville South on Feb. 26. The North Stars play Benet to close the regular season Feb. 28.