Make no mistake about it, Chase Yarberough is a confident kid who laughs at the thought of giving up.
Cut as a sophomore and a JV player as a junior last winter, Yarberough went off Monday night, scoring a career-high 32 points to lead Warwick to a 71-65 win over Columbia in a Lancaster-Lebanon League boys basketball quarterfinal in Lititz.
Moments after walking off the court, he was asked what he would have said to someone prior to the game, had they told him he would score 32 points.
“I would have believed them,” he said confidently. “Pre-game, I felt hot. To do this my senior year feels amazing.”
The lefty, starting in place of injured leading scorer Joey McCracken, wasted little time getting going as he drilled a 3-pointer just eight seconds into the game and went on to score 10 points in the opening quarter.
Keep in mind, Yarberough averaged only 6.1 points per game coming in to the postseason.
“When the first one goes, it makes the rest easier,” said Warwick coach Chris Christensen. “We know what he's capable of and I thought it was just an awesome night. I was in a little bit of disbelief of just how awesome it was going there for about five minutes.”
Columbia coach Kerry Glover was in some disbelief himself after seeing Yarberough score 16 points in both halves.
“We did a horrible job locating him,” Glover said. “We let a kid who is left-handed have eight drives to the left side of the court. It just didn't make any sense. But I can't take anything from him. He played a heckuva game.”
The Warriors (18-4), who have won 13 straight games, built a 33-22 halftime lead and upped it to 43-25 midway through the third thanks to 10 straight points from — you guessed it — Yarberough, who scored 12 in the quarter.
The Tide, however, clawed back and closed the gap to 48-39 after three quarters, and a 4-0 start to the fourth made it a 48-43 game with 6:46 left.
Columbia (16-7) got to within 50-46 on a Matt McCleary 3-pointer, but the Tide got no closer. McCleary led all Columbia scorers with 18 points, while Michael Poole Jr. had 14 and Kerry Glover and Luis Cruz each added a dozen.
“It just seems to be the common theme year after year,” coach Glover said. “We put up a great fight, but it's time for us to get over the hump.”
Tate Landis finished with 16 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, and Kai Cipilla chipped in 11 for the Warriors, who advance to Wednesday's semifinal — a 7:30 p.m. start at Hempfield — opposite Lancaster Catholic, a 63-57 winner over McCaskey on Monday.
“I think a lot of people had us done,” Christensen said. “A lot of people had us sunk with the injuries we've had. All of our guys stepped up.”
None more than Yarberough.