Shayla Smothers saw an opportunity to learn from a basketball coach who knows plenty about the post when she transferred from Capital to Black Hills in the summer.
And it doesn’t hurt that her new coach is her stepmother.
Tanya Greenfield earned her first head coaching job when she learned during the summer she would take over for Robin Johnson at Black Hills. Not long after that, she added Smothers to the ninth-ranked Wolves.
Greenfield, a former post at Saint Martin’s University, was more than pleased to get the opportunity to coach Smothers (6-foot-1), and add her to a front line that already featured Hope Mortensen (6-0) and Sarah McGee (5-10).
“Whether she decided to transfer here or not I would have been here as her head coach, but she likes that we both played the same position and that I was going to be taking over,” Greenfield said. “But we have an understanding that on the floor, it’s all about basketball.”
Actually, that isn’t too different from off the floor as well. Greenfield’s husband, Steve Smothers, is the head coach of the Olympia Reign, a semi-pro team in the International Basketball League.
“I also have a sixth-grade daughter in basketball,” Greenfield said. “Throw her into the mix and it’s pretty much basketball on TV pretty consistently and it’s pretty much the topic of conversation all the time at dinner.”
Shayla Smothers, Mortensen and McGee figure to be key for Black Hills, which is counting on high-quality wing play from twins Sydney and Taylor Sauls.
“We put a lot of emphasis on rebounding and getting the ball up the floor and filling the lanes,” Greenfield said. “I feel like our bigs are quicker than any other team’s bigs, so I feel we have to outrun them down the floor.”
It’s a combination that Greenfield hopes can take the Wolves back to the Class 2A state playoffs for the first time since 2010. It’s the longest state drought the school has faced in 13 years.