The prep basketball season has gained importance. Football players have had enough time — a few weeks — to get in basketball shape. And it just so happens that conference play is about to begin.

In the Big East Conference, the team to beat is till the Northern Nash boys’ team, which has gone undefeated — 10-0 — in league play for the past three seasons. Northern Nash, which secured a No. 2 seed in the Class 3-A playoffs last season, is still playing well despite losing all five of its 2018 starters.

Conference play begins Friday. Let’s get into the matchups.

Northern Nash (12-2) at Wilson Hunt (6-5)

Next meeting: Jan. 28

Last 5: NN: 4-1. Hunt: 4-1.

Fast fact: All five players in last season’s starting lineup were seniors. The team is still talented, despite losing Sam Page, Joseph Cherry Blue, Darquez Flowers, Davontae Wiggins and Tarod Brown. Each scored more than 200 points, while combining for 1,310 of the Knights’ 1,709 total points.

Rocky Mount High (3-7) at Franklinton (4-11)

Next meeting: Jan. 28 at RMH

Last 5: RMH: 2-3. Franklinton: 2-3

Fast fact: The Gryphons are in a two-game losing streak. RMH suffered a five-game losing stretch earlier in the season.

Southern Nash (4-4) at Wilson Fike (5-7)

Next meeting: Jan. 28 at Southern Nash

Last 5: SN: 3-2. Fike: 1-4

Fast fact: The Firebirds hit the road for the first time in four games, a stretch which produced a 2-2 record. Fike is on a two-game losing streak and has allowed 20 more points than it has scored.

Eastern Plains Conference

Nash Central (4-7) at SouthWest Edgecombe (7-2)

Next meeting: Feb. 4 at Nash Central

Last 5: NC: 2-3. SWE: 4-1.

Fast fact: Cougars’ Radford commit Keishon Porter is averaging 22.0 points per game with 5.0 rebounds. Elsewhere, SWE sophomore Zay Mayo is also in double figures, averaging 10.6 points per game.