BY MIKE BLACKERBY
When Sydney Mains heats up, watch out.
The 5Star Preps Girls Basketball Underclassman of the Year for the 2021-22 high school season is one of the area’s most deadly 3-point shooters.
She’s also one of those players who naturally embraces the big stage.
Take the game against Webb on Jan. 28, for example.
Mains, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, bombed in three quick triples to stake the Lady Irish to a 14-0 lead over the Lady Spartans.
Playing in front of a packed gym in the rivalry game, her hot shooting never abated.
She finished with 36 points, pumping in seven 3-pointers and sinking 14 of 23 field goal attempts overall in a 56-39 win.
The 16-year-old Mains, who helped Catholic to a 21-10 record last season, said it was the type of environment she thrives on.
“It was a fun game – the crowd was insane,” said Mains.
“The key part of my game is I’m a shooter. I’ve always worked hard on it, always been in the gym and grew up around it.”
Scoring is something that comes often and easily for Mains.
She averaged 21.4 points per game last season, shooting 47 percent overall (239 of 513) from the field and converting an impressive 40 percent (95 of 236) from long range.
Mains has already scored 1,267 points in 62 games during her Catholic career.
But there are many other components to Mains’ game.
She also averaged 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 steals a contest last season.
Of course being the daughter of basketball coaches has something to do with Mains’ ingrained drive and skill as a player.
Her dad, Travis Mains, is also her head coach at Catholic. Her mother, Missey, is an assistant coach for the Lady Irish.
Mains said his daughter started playing basketball in earnest when she was just 4 years old.
She’s had plenty of practice putting the ball through the hoop.
“Her shooting ability comes from practice and confidence,” said Travis Mains.
“When she gets going she’s pretty streaky.”
While shooting is Mains’ calling card, she already has a well-rounded game.
She’s sneaky good on defense and can score on multiple levels.
“She can do a lot of different things,” said Travis Mains.
“She can play all five positions if she has to. She anticipates really well and has a good feel for the game. She understands the game and has good foot work around the basket.”
Colleges are already well aware that Mains has a lot to offer.
She has offers from Appalachian State, Murray State, East Tennessee State, UTC and Wofford.
Expect that list to mount in the coming months.
Mains said “it’s hard to tell” what her ceiling might be as far as future college offers.
The good part, she said, is a lot of that is up to her.
“I guess that depends on just how hard I work,” said Sydney Mains, who was Underclassman of the Year for the 2020-21 season, as well.
“My ball-handling and getting quicker are the things that I’m working on.”
Travis Mains said larger schools have also contacted his daughter, but are in a wait-in-and-see mode.
“It (her college recruiting) is going depend on what they are looking for,” he said.
“Some want to wait and see how she develops athletically … we’ll see.”