During the past few seasons, North Mecklenburg's Carlin Bremner has been in somewhat of a supporting role. But being the Vikings' go-to scorer has fit the senior well this year, as he's led North Meck to a 6-0 start while averaging more than 20 points per game.
"I'm just taking what comes to me - hitting my open shots and getting every one else involved," said the 17-year-old. "We're winning, and that's the most important thing."
North Meck coach Duane Lewis said Bremner is much more than just scorer for the Vikings.
"He's a leader who knows how to show up and how to go hard on and off the floor," Lewis said. "He's a role model for these younger kids to look at what it takes to be successful."
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Bremner takes that role seriously.
"I definitely embrace it," he said. "I know I need to be there to help coach my teammates on the floor - to keep everyone going and not let us get down."
Bremner might be the right guy for the job. He knows the ins-and-outs of the North Meck system, being a four-year varsity player for the Vikings.
Lewis said only three or four players have played on North Meck's varsity team as freshmen in the school's long and storied basketball tradition.
"I will only put somebody on varsity if they're going to get to play, and he did that as a ninth-grader," said Lewis, adding that Bremner's quickness, strength and scoring ability impressed him from day one. "We knew that he could help us out."
Coming off the bench, Bremner did just that both of his first two years.
Last season he was thrust into a starting role and did not disappoint. The versatile scorer, who is able to shoot from the perimeter and drive to the basket, was second on the team, averaging 17 points per game and being named all-conference.
But North Meck didn't have the year it had hoped, going 13-11 and barely missing the 4A playoffs.
"We could've been so good with all the talent we had, but we just didn't play well together," said Bremner. "We'd always lose close games, so already winning two close games this year is a good sign for us."
Bremner said he's seen improvement in some aspects of his game.
"I'm just becoming a more complete player," the 6-footer said, explaining his ball-handing, vision and jump shot have gotten better.
"I'm just trying to improve in every aspect as much as possible."
Lewis said Bremner's improvement comes from the work he puts in.
"He's a gym rat," he said, adding Bremner is always trying to get into North Meck's gym - whether it's during the summer or the weekends. "He just loves basketball."
In addition to practicing and lifting weights with the team, Bremner shoots and plays with his teammates at the YMCA every chance he gets - even before or after two-hour practices.
"It's basketball season, and this is what I like to do," he said.
But North Meck's performance isn't solely due to Bremner.
"This team is full of guys who don't care about themselves," said Bremner. "We like to play together and want the team to win rather than care about their own stats."
Jermaine Forte, who started for the Vikings last season, has been big for the team. The 6-foot-3 post player might be undersized for his position, but he's been doing a good job at rebounding and defending his opposition.
Lake Norman Charter transfer Shivaughn Wiggins is also a welcomed addition to the roster. The point guard has taken some of the ball-handling load from Bremner, allowing him to focus more on shooting the basketball.
Wiggins is a talented scorer himself, averaging more than 11 points while dishing out nearly eight assists per game.
"He makes us go," said Lewis.
"Shivaughn is a leader. He knows how to win and keep everybody happy."
Karl Barkley and Kenny Tucker have also made key contributions to the Vikings' resurgence.
"We're starting to play real well together," said Bremner. "We keep getting better every single game. With conference starting, it's a good time to start playing like that."
He wants his team to keep fighting even when adversity strikes.
"There's going to close games, and times that we might lose this year," said Bremner. "It's a long season and we have a lot ahead of us, so we have to stay together and do what we can to win."
Lewis hopes his team will be able to keep up their performance with I-Meck competition getting under way so they can get back to the state playoffs.
But he knows for that to happen, the Vikings will have to put in a lot of work.
"Our conference is tough," said Lewis. "I hear a lot of people saying, 'Well, the conference is doing a little bit this year.' Nah, it's not down."
Lewis always makes a goal to win a championship - whether it is winning the regular season, conference tournament or even their Christmas tournament.
He hopes his team is able to accomplish that.
Bremner also has his goals set high.
"I'm trying to win as much as I can," he said.
"This is my last year - I want to go far, I want to win a state championship if we can."