An event of this super significance is unfamiliar territory for the St. Viator boys basketball program.
But the four most experienced seniors who helped drive the Lions to their first sectional title are familiar with these high-stakes moments.
At 7:30 p.m. today at Hoffman Estates High School, the Lions will be after their ultimate statement victory when they face perennial power Marshall in a Class 3A supersectional. On the line is a trip to Peoria and a state trophy.
The same type of trophy point guard Alan Aboona and guard Brendan King grabbed when Viator won the 2A state soccer title in the fall.
And during that same season, starting forwards Jack Etchingham and Richard McLoughlin were helping the Lions football team to the state playoffs.
"It definitely helps that we know how to compete," McLoughlin said. "We've competed all of our lives and the experience of being through big games definitely helps."
Viator coach Joe Majkowski said this is probably the most multisport athletes he's had among his core group in his 23 years.
King and key senior reserve Julian Sipiora are the top two pitchers on the baseball team and 6-4 sophomore Chris Myjak also plays baseball. Even though Richard Markovits didn't play football, he has a fearless football-type mentality where he doesn't hesitate to mix it up inside.
"With the success they've had in soccer and football over the years, it's a big plus for us," Majkowski said. "They're not intimidated by big games or tough situations."
That's why King said when they have some early jitters, "after the first four minutes we take it as any other game."
Especially on a team not expected by many to still be playing right now.
"We're playing with a lot more pressure on our backs," Aboona said. "But we're still able to handle it with all of our experience."
A unique one considering Aboona was the only one of the four who considered basketball his primary sport.
But now here they are - a smart, tough, experienced and fun group on the verge of a trip to Peoria. They may not wow anyone with high-flying dunks or imposing blocked shots, but they've become a heck of a basketball team.
"We've seen it all before," Aboona said.
"We know we can play with anybody and beat anybody at this point," McLoughlin said.
"If you get to the supersectional game it doesn't matter who you're playing," King said. "If a team makes it that you have to be as good as anybody."
Said Etchingham: "Even before the game we don't really think about, 'Oh, shoot, we're playing Marshall tonight.' It's a basketball game.'"
And just another big game in their successful athletic careers.