After the final net cord had been cut down in the post-game celebration, Dallastown's Shae Grim, Shannon Thomas and Jenna Jackson posed together for a photo while standing on the hardwood floor at York College's Wolf Gymnasium.
The smiles on their faces told the story: the goal the trio established three years ago as freshmen had been achieved.
Dallastown won the 2013 York-Adams League Basketball Tournament championship on Thursday night.
The Wildcats defeated West York, 50-37, in the third meeting of the teams this season to earn the title. They split the previous two meetings.
"Shannon, Jenna and myself have been together since second grade," Grim said. "We have a bond. Our freshman year was our coach's (Mary Manlove) first year, and we knew what her expectations were: get the county championship by senior year."
The Wildcats got it this season with a team effort that featured seniors, juniors and sophomores.
Grim led the way in the title game with 12 points. Thomas and 6-foot sophomore Amari Johnson supplied 10 points apiece. Thomas pulled down six rebounds, and Johnson had five.
"I love this team," Thomas said. "I don't feel our team has one go-to player. We have a bunch of players who come through for us. Coach Manlove and us, we've grown together."
The Wildcats' balanced scoring and rebounding were only part of the story in the title contest. Dallastown's interior defense also played a huge role. The Wildcats used their length and timing to block shots and draw charges. Dallastown recorded three blocks and drew three charges in the first half and outrebounded the Bulldogs 21-12 for the game.
"We had to shut down the paint," Manlove said. "We knew they were slashers and 3-point shooters. West York feeds on runs (of points), and we did a good job of stopping the runs."
Dallastown trailed just once in the game, at 5-4. Johnson's layup at 3:19 of the first quarter put the Wildcats ahead for good, 6-5. Dallastown outscored the Bulldogs in every quarter and held them to single digits in the first three quarters.
West York was just 2-of-12 from the field in both the first and third quarters. Dallastown connected on 10-of-18 field goal attempts in the opening half to build an eight-point lead at halftime.
The Wildcats pushed the advantage to 13 in the second half before West York made a run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to seven, but that was as close as the Bulldogs were able to come. Dallastown sealed the victory by connecting on 14-of-19 from the foul line in the last quarter.
"They came in hungry, and they wanted the ball more than we did," Bulldogs' coach Jon Shultz said. "But I'm proud of my girls because we fought hard all year long to get to this point. And this isn't the end of our run by any means."
Emily Wood knocked in 13 points for West York, which finished on top in York-Adams Division I this season despite losing leading scorer Sarah Shearer on Jan. 18 to a knee injury.
Dallastown, meanwhile, captured its first tournament championship in 13 years, just one season removed from a 12-12 finish.
"These girls were very motivated to do something this year," Manlove said. "They made a commitment to each other. They all played AAU, and they did double workouts. They took ownership of this team."
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin email@example.com.
Jackson 2 1-1 6, Lehman 0 4-4 4, Thomas 3 3-4 10, Grim 3 4-8 12, Johnson 5 0-0 10, McGowan 2 1-2 5, Crumbling 0 1-2 1, Anstine 0 2-2 2, Small 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 16-23 50. Three-point field goals: Grim 2; Thomas, Jackson.
West York (37)
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, Slagle 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 12-17 37. Three-point field goals: Wood 2; Zinn.
Dallastown 9 13 10 18 -- 50
West York 5 9 8 15 -- 37