HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The 256 vs. 205 Challenge is more than just a rivalry series — it’s a chance for the Huntsville and Birmingham-area schools to compete at the highest level as the regular season wraps up.

And for the Huntsville Panthers, it’s a challenge they’re looking forward to.

“That’s a great opportunity for our team and our program to go and compete with one of the best in the country, this late in the year. And it’s a game that it doesn’t matter if we win or lose, but we’re trying to grow from this game,” said Christian Schweers, Huntsville boys basketball head coach.

The Panthers will face the No. 1 team in the state of Alabama and the 49th ranked team in the country in the Pinson Valley Indians.

In the past few weeks, Huntsville has two top 10 wins over rivals Sparkman and Grissom on the road. Although this stretch has been a challenge, the Panthers know it’s only helping them in the long run.

“You always want that stage, you always want to prove somebody wrong,” said Jamari Arnold, the senior guard for the Huntsville boys basketball team. “And for us to get to where we want to be, us playing the toughest teams now, that’s great for us. It should make us much better playing the number one team in the state.”

“Our schedule has prepared us for the stretch that we’re on right now,” Schweers added. “We played a lot of really good teams in November and December, played in some good environments so when we come back home and play the teams we’ve got to beat around here, the Grissoms, the Sparkmans, I feel like our players were prepared for that, they were confident in those environments. But we’ve got to grow and be hungry every day in practice because ultimately where we want to end up, we want to be playing in March.”

Tipoff between Huntsville and Pinson Valley is set for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday in Birmingham.