When it comes to early-season boys basketball success stories, Glenelg has to rank right up there at the top of the list.

The Gladiators, who sometimes start as many as four sophomores, are off to a 6-4 start this winter to already match the program’s win total from a year ago. And among the keys night in and night out has been sophomore point guard Nick Oates.

Oates, a second-year starter that leads the team in scoring and assists, had his full arsenal on display Jan. 4 against Hammond. In a 74-68 victory, he scored a career-high 38 points to notch what is the top scoring output by a public school county player since 2009.

“One of our top scoring seniors (Colin Randle) was out, so once I got a few baskets early I felt like I had the confidence to keep going,” said Oates, whose previous career-high was 21 points. “All game I was trying to drive to the basket and either score or get to the foul line.”

By game’s end, Oates had made 12 field goals to go along with a 12-15 effort from the foul line. A couple early steals and lay-ups in transition got him going and he never slowed down, helping the Gladiators hold off Hammond’s comeback attempt from down double digits in the second half.

Going forward, though, Oates says one big game isn’t going to change his mentality. His biggest concern is still helping Glenelg maintain its position among the county’s upper echelon. “We’re a young team, so confidence is extremely important,” he said. “We just have to keep taking it one game at a time and I’m going to keep doing what I can to help with that.”

Glenelg is back in action Monday evening, Jan. 7, at home against Centennial at 5:30 p.m.