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  • Jim Seip column: YAIAA champion Wildcats are "absolute animals"

  • A look back at YAIAA girls' basketball history: Champions, records and more

    Playing the first game of a semifinal has its advantages. For Dallastown, it was staying to watch West York's YAIAA girls' basketball tournament semifinal against York Catholic.

    That night, two days before the Wildcats took the floor against their Division I rivals for a third time, Shae Grim said she noticed what the Bulldogs did.

    "I knew one of the reasons York Catholic lost was because they just didn't rebound. West York just straight out-hustled them," she said.

    Grim and her teammates made sure that would not happen again, and ultimately it allowed them to cut down the nets as YAIAA tournament champions at York College's Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center. A 50-37 winner Thursday night against West York, Dallastown righted a loss - or two - that cost it the division title.

    "Unfinished business" was the theme echoed Thursday night by multiple players and their coach, Mary Manlove.

    First, it was defeating an unbeaten Dover squad in the semifinals. The top-seeded Eagles handed the Wildcats (19-6) one of their few league losses this season.

    Then there was West York.

    The Bulldogs (21-4) beat Dallastown by one point a little more than two weeks ago, which allowed them to overtake the Wildcats for the division.

    "We knew if we wanted to win this game, we needed to get rebounds," Grim said, "and we needed to out-hustle them."

    That also meant beating West York's quick-footed guards to the paint and drawing charges. Twice in the first half, the Wildcats were able to do it to Bulldogs sophomore Emily Wood. West York coach Jon Shultz said he thought his team wasn't able to play its style - Wood, Kari Lankford and Heather Zinn driving at the hoop and scoring or setting up an open jumper.

    Dallastown gave West York opportunities. The Wildcats committed 21 turnovers to the Bulldogs' 16.

    "It was ugly," Manlove said, but she pointed to those early charges as reason the Bulldogs couldn't find their rhythm.

    "I don't think they could have attacked the rim as strongly because we took three charges in the first half, and that's something we prepared for," she said. "A team's not going to go to the rim with the same tenacity when you know you're picking up charges.

    Dallastown’s Amari Johnson looks to pass against West York’s defense during the second half of the YAIAA girls’ championship game at York
    Dallastown's Amari Johnson looks to pass against West York's defense during the second half of the YAIAA girls' championship game at York College. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Chris Dunn)

    Just another aspect of Dallastown's preparation for an opponent it knew well. At times Thursday, defenders cycled between zones and man-to-man responsibilities near the rim as Manlove shouted "Duke."

    The coach admitted she's "dumbed down" their schemes since a season ago when the Wildcats finished 12-12. She credited it to their turnaround this year with a mix of experienced players on the perimeter and sophomores Amari Johnson and Katie McGowan inside. Typically, it's Johnson and McGowan gobbling up the rebounds and blocks.

    On this night, they weren't alone.

    "We know all five of us can do it," Grim said of the rebounding and interior defense, "so we really emphasized on that so they wouldn't get second and third shots."

    The Bulldogs shot 11-of-44, and they didn't get many of those second chances. The Wildcats held a 33-22 rebounding edge as four players - Johnson (six), McGowan (five), guard Alex Lehman (five) and guard Shannon Thomas (seven) - had at least five boards. Grim added four, as a player wearing a black-and-blue jersey darted near an errant shot almost every time.

    "It's pretty much who wants it more," Johnson said. "All of us want it."

    Jackson 2 1-2 6, Lehman 0 4-4 4, Shannon Thomas 3 3-4 10, Shae Grim 3 4-8 12, Amari Johnson 5 0-0 10, McGowan 2 1-2 5, Butler 0 0-0 0, Crumbling 0 1-2 1, Anstine 0 2-2 2, Small 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 16-24 50.

    West York’s Kari Lankford bowls over Dallastown’s Shae Grim on her way to the basket during the first half of the YAIAA girls’ basketball
    West York's Kari Lankford bowls over Dallastown's Shae Grim on her way to the basket during the first half of the YAIAA girls' basketball tournament championship game Thursday at York College. The Wildcats won, 50-37. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Chris Dunn)

    WEST YORK (37)
    Emily Wood 3 5-7 13, Lankford 1 2-2 4, Noll 2 1-2 5, Zinn 2 3-4 8, Krepps 1 0-0 2, Tallman 1 1-2 3, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Mulroy 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 12-17 37.

    Dallastown 9 13 10 18 - 50
    West York 5 9 8 15 - 37
    3-point goals - Dallastown 4 (Grim 2, Jackson, Thomas); West York 3 (Wood 2, Zinn).

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