Mains is Player of the Year despite injuries

Hernandez tabbed Coach of the Year

By Steve Williams

Sydney Mains has had multiple injuries in her high school basketball career at Knoxville Catholic but still managed to become one of the most decorated players to wear the Green and Gold.

As the season continues with tournament play, more honors could be coming Sydney’s way.

One is being announced today as the 5-10 senior combo guard has been selected The Knoxville Focus / Coaches’ Knox County Player of the Year.

Despite wearing a bandage on the right thumb of her shooting hand throughout the season, the blonde bomber has averaged 18.5 points while playing for her dad and head coach, Travis Mains. She joined the 2,000-point club on Dec. 22 and also has averaged six rebounds, three assists and three steals in leading Catholic to a 24-4 overall record and a perfect 8-0 slate in Division II-AA.

Sydney and the Lady Irish, ranked No. 1 in the state in their classification, were scheduled to play Harpeth Hall Friday night in a state quarterfinal game, with a berth in the Final Four on the line at Tennessee Tech’s Eblen Center in Cookeville this week.

Mains, coming back from a knee injury, helped guide Catholic to its first state championship at TTU last March.

The Florida Atlantic University commit is a McDonald’s All-American nominee and a three-time TSSAA Miss Basketball Finalist. There’s a good chance her name will be announced when this season’s Miss Basketball Division II-AA award is presented on March 12.

“Sydney has had a back and hip injury this year along with the thumb and overcoming the ACL, MCL and PCL injury,” pointed out Coach Mains.

As far as being named a Miss Basketball honoree, Coach Mains said: “She has been recognized three times; maybe it is her year to win it. She has finished second to the top player in her 2024 class nationally in (Ensworth guard) Jaloni Cambridge.”

Coach Mains added that his daughter “has been blessed to go to Knoxville Catholic and play with tremendous teammates.”

Greg Hernandez, Webb School’s new coach this season, was chosen as The Knoxville Focus / Coaches’ Knox County Coach of the Year. Hernandez came to Webb from Seymour High, where he had several successful seasons.

Hernandez lost three times to rival Catholic this season, including the East Region championship game, but his Lady Spartans (22-9, 6-2) played the Lady Irish close in their last two meetings. Webb was scheduled to play in Memphis Friday night in a state quarterfinal game against Hutchison (18-2, 7-0).

Catholic’s Mains and Powell Coach John Fisher also were among those who received votes.

Others on the 2023-24 All-Knox County first team, which was based on regular season play, include:

Amaya Redd, Catholic: The junior power forward averaged nine points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals per game.

Natalya Hodge, Bearden: The super sophomore guard also was among those who received votes for Player of the Year in Knox County. A Miss Basketball finalist in Class 4A, Natalya averaged 22 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.9 steals and 3.3 assists for the Lady Bulldogs, who were 9-1 in District 4-4A and 27-2 overall.

Kendall Anne Murphy, Bearden: The junior talent averaged 11.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.7 assists.

Meeyah Green, Webb: The Lady Spartans’ sophomore guard led her team, averaging 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Jaci Neubert, Farragut: The junior helped lead the Lady Admirals (9-1, 18-11) to a share of the District 4-4A regular season title and was the team’s top scorer, averaging 13.4 points per game.

KJ McNealy, Farragut: The sophomore was a strong inside player, averaging 9.9 rebounds to go along with 12.1 points per game and 4.2 assists.

Maddie Braden, CAK: The freshman connected on 51 percent of her field goal attempts as she averaged 17 points per game. She also pulled down 4.7 rebounds and averaged 1.3 blocks, 3.3 steals and 2.3 assists per outing.

Izzy Proffitt, CAK: The veteran senior averaged 11.2 points as she connected on 48 percent of her field goal tries. She also averaged 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 3.6 assists for the Lady Warriors (23-7, 12-1) who came on strong late in the season and won the Division II-A East Region title.

Natali Fender, CCS: The Lady Lions’ senior, a two-time All-District honoree, averaged 16.8 points per game plus 6.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.2 steals for Concord Christian (9-4, 13-10).

Alexis Hammock, GCA: The freshman was a standout offensive player for Grace Christian Academy as she had a triple-double in five games and a double-double in 10-plus games. She averaged 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Lady Rams posted a record of 10-3 and 18-10.


Megan Biliter, Halls, sr.

Avery Brewer, Central, soph.

Kamryn Butcher, HVA, jr.

Caroline Krueger, Catholic, sr.

Maiya Moore, Fulton, sr.

Annie Priest, Farragut, jr.

Reese Roberts, Karns, jr.

Rylee Roberts, Karns, jr.

Payton Rollins, S-Doyle, fr.

Sammy Taylor, Fulton, sr.

Kyndra West, HVA, jr.

Dee Williams, Fulton, sr.


Mattie Beard, GCA, fr.

Brooklyn Bush, Webb, sr.

Raegan Corvette, Halls, sr.

A’niyah Duvall, GCA, fr.

Hayden Hill, GCA, fr.

Dakota Large, Gibbs, sr.

Katelyn Overton, Webb, sr.

Jadyn Parker, Gibbs, jr.

Raley Qualls, Gibbs, jr.

Emory Thomas, CCS, 8th.

Cloey Wade, South-Doyle, jr.

Maddi Whaley, Gibbs, jr.

Rachael Wilhoit, Bearden, sr.

Lindsay Wilson, Bearden, sr.

Marah Yeo, Carter, jr.


Knox County girls Stat Leaders 2023-24

(Average per game)


Natalya Hodge, Bearden 22.0

Alexis Hammonds, GCA 19.0

Sydney Mains, Catholic 18.5

Sammy Taylor, Fulton 18.0

Maddie Braden, CAK 17.0

Avery Brewer, Central 17.0

Natali Fender, CCS 16.8

Payton Rollins, S-D 16.4

Rylee Roberts, Karns 16.0

Reese Roberts, Karns 15.0

Meeyah Green, Webb 14.0

Maiya Moore, Fulton 14.0

Kendra West, HVA 14.0

Jaci Neubert, Farragut 13.4



Dee Williams, Fulton 11.0

KJ McNealy, Farragut 9.9

Cloey Wade, S-D 7.1

Sammy Taylor, Fulton 7.0

Natali Fender, CCS 6.2

Meeyah Green, Webb 6.0

Sydney Mains, Catholic 6.0

Jadyn Parker, Gibbs 6.0

Amaya Redd, Catholic 6.0



Alexis Hammock, GCA 8.0

Dakota Large, Gibbs 5.0

Emory Thomas, CCS 4.8

Natali Fender, CCS 4.6

KJ McNealy, Farragut 4.2

Avery Brewer, Central 4.0

Meeyah Green, Webb 4.0

Kyndra West, HVA 4.0



Dee Williams, Fulton 6.0

Natalya Hodge, Bearden 4.9

Reese Roberts, Karns 4.0

Rylee Roberts, Karns 4.0

Emory Thomas, CCS 3.7

Maddie Braden, CAK 3.3

Natali Fender, CCS 3.2



Dee Williams, Fulton 2.0

Maddie Braden, CAK 1.3

Cloey Wade S-D 1.3

Jadyn Parker, Gibbs 0.6