A late free throw by Kennedi Greenfield pushed the lead to four points, ultimately sealing a win and the fourth-place trophy at last year’s state 2A girls’ basketball tournament for Black Hills High School.
Tanya Greenfield, Kennedi’s mother and the Wolves’ coach, had always been able to separate those two roles whenever she and her daughter stepped onto the court. But this time, the moment Kennedi’s free throw went in, the coach side was nowhere to be found. Tanya was in full-on proud mom mode.
“I don’t think she was my coach at that moment,” a grinning Kennedi recalled. “She was my mom thinking, ‘That’s my kid shooting the free throw.’ She gave me a pretty big hug afterwards.”
Moments after the teams left the court, Tanya and Kennedi posed for photos with the Wolves’ newest hardware. It marked the third consecutive year Black Hills placed at the state tournament and the program’s best finish in 15 years.
“We’ve had a lot of memories over the years,” Kennedi said, “but I think that’s the top one so far.”
Now a senior, Kennedi is hoping to add even more unforgettable moments with her mom on the hardwood during her final season.
She knows there will be tears when it’s over, but as she puts it, “We’re both so focused on the season right now. We can think about that later.”
It’s certainly not out of the ordinary to have a father coach his son at the high school level. You even see the occasional scenario where a dad coaches his daughter.
But a mother being her daughter’s head coach is something of a rarity – and something that both Tanya and Kennedi say increases the specialness of their relationship.
“Basketball has always been our thing,” Kennedi said. “I love being around basketball and she’s a big reason why. She’s coach, she’s mom, she’s everything to me.”
While she now proudly wears the Wolves jersey, Kennedi grew up believing she would one day be a Mountain Goat.
When she was five, her mother began her coaching career at Chelan High School. Tanya immediately helped build the Mountain Goats into a perennial state playoff team in the 1A ranks, and young Kennedi was there every step of the way.
“Those were some of my first big, exciting moments,” Kennedi said. “I just remember always being in the gym with her. I was always riding the bus with the team. I’d cry if I couldn’t go on the bus rides.”
Tanya had been away from the sport for nearly a decade before being ushered into the coaching ranks by a former college coach.
She was a standout at Sehome High School in Bellingham before eventually playing collegiate level at Wenatchee Valley and Saint Martin’s University.
Once her playing days with the Saints ended, she took what she described as a “detour to Atlanta for 10 years.” During this span, her life was void of basketball.
It wasn’t until she moved back to the Wenatchee area that she made her return to the sport, and even then, it was by surprise.
“My college coach lived in Chelan and was looking for a JV coach,” Tanya said. “He basically volunteered me to coach. I had never coached before, but just fell in love with it.”
The same could be said for Kennedi, who dreamed of one day playing for her mom as a Mountain Goat.
“When we moved here, I was mad about it at first,” Kennedi said. “I always thought I was going to graduate from Chelan. I was going to play for Chelan and she was going to be my coach.”
The latter did come true, albeit it in a different town, but it wasn’t long before Kennedi warmed up to her new surroundings.
“It ended up working out great,” Kennedi said. “I just feel very fortunate to have had my mom coach me these last four years. Not too many people get to experience that.”
For Kennedi, this year’s senior class at Black Hills is almost one big extended basketball family.
Prior to being coached by her mom, Kennedi was coached in youth basketball by the fathers of teammates Alexa Bovenkamp and Maisy Williams.
“I was a parent in the stands, but I was still coaching her,” Tanya said about Kennedi’s pre-high school playing years. “One of the things I really appreciate about her is she came up to me one day and said, ‘Mom, you can coach me once I reach high school, but for now just be a parent.’ I agreed and told her I could wait a few years to coach her and just enjoyed watching her play.”
With the regular season hitting the midway point and the Wolves looking to defend their 2A Evergreen Conference title and claim a state trophy for a fourth straight year, Tanya gets to do both.
“I think the biggest thing for me is we don’t miss any moments,” Tanya said. “We’re on the same schedule. I’m at every game. We get to experience this together.”