Dallastown’s Amari Johnson, left, battles with West York’s Alyssa Krepps in Thursday’s title game.
Dallastown's Amari Johnson, left, battles with West York's Alyssa Krepps in Thursday's title game. (Bil Bowden)

Dallastown senior Shae Grim took the first two charges.

Teammate Katie McGowan took the third and final charge of the first half.

Those gutty efforts caused West York to have trouble generating points on offense on Thursday night at York College.

"They definitely backed off," Grim said. "We knew they were gonna drive. And it pumped us up as a team, too, (taking the charges)."

But where does that ability of knowing when to take a charge come from?

"We have a drill that we practice and they're ready for it," Dallastown coach Mary Manlove said. "And we practice timing and it's really the help defense, wanting to do it, knowing my teammate just got beat so I'm gonna cause a turnover."

There it is. Knowing when to help a teammate. Even that has a backstory on this Dallastown team, especially since it wasn't something the Wildcats were doing much of last season when they went 12-12.

Dallastown brought back the exact same roster from last season. A roster that was motivated. And the motivation led to commitment, something we so often hear about with successful teams at this point in the season.

"They came to every summer league game. They all played AAU," Manlove said. "They all did double workouts in the court and they all did double workouts in the weight room. And we started bonding. We went up to a ropes course at Ski Roundtop. And we would do pre-game meals at kids' houses. They have off school today and I didn't say anything and they all went out for breakfast. So they've taken ownership of being a cohesive unit."


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The commitment is something Manlove says she hasn't seen out of this group before. And she knows this group well. This year's senior class has been there from the start of Manlove's head coaching career when she took over at Dallastown in 2009. And like this year's squad, Manlove has grown along with the players.

Learning: A 2000 York Catholic grad, Manlove moved on to play point guard at NCAA Division III Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., where she later earned a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education and a masters degree in literacy.

The latter degree came while she served as a full-time assistant coach at West Point, learning from then head coach Maggie Dixon, the sister of Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. But recruiting and coaching became an around-the-clock job for Manlove. She missed her family and decided to look for a job in York County.

Landing at Dallastown in 2008, athletic director Tory Harvey offered Manlove an opportunity to learn about coaching the high school game as an assistant under Harvey with the girls' program in 2008-2009. Manlove took over for Harvey the following season, which saw Dallastown go 13-9 overall and 8-7 in league play.

"I think part of our early struggles was because I was trying to do too much at a high level," Manlove said. "Whereas this year I simplified everything and said 'Let's try to do one or two things well.'"

One of those things was learning to take charges. Thursday night, it led to the program's first league tournament title since 2000.

-- Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.