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Sarah DeShone hits ground running as Mishawaka girls hoops coach

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - This week, Mishawaka girls basketball is busy hosting its annual summer youth camp.

And while this event often brings energy to the team, there has already been plenty of buzz thanks to the program's new leader.

Sarah DeShone – one day after officially being introduced as Mishawaka’s new girls basketball coach – wasted no time in getting to know her team and community.

“I fell in love with it," she said of Mishawaka. "It’s a small-town community feel and being able to take over a program like this has always been a dream of mine.”

That love for Mishawaka has grown in the past year as DeShone served as the JV coach and an assistant under the outgoing Kevin Gradeless, who stepped down in May after 11 seasons.

After getting to know the program inside and out, she knew just how special the job was, especially with a unique setting.

“Getting to coach in this gym here, you can’t beat it,” DeShone said of their historic home dubbed “The Cave,” which is one of the oldest active gyms in Indiana. “It feels like ‘Hoosiers’ every day when you come to practice.”

It wasn’t long ago that she was a star in the Michiana basketball scene, leading Jimtown to a state finals appearance. Afterwards, she played college at Ferris State and eventually took her talents overseas to play professionally in Denmark.

But there was always something calling her back home.

“Being in a coaching family, it kind of runs in the genes,” she laughed.

DeShone’s father Randy was a longtime girls coach at both Jimtown and Elkhart Central, while her brother Derrick also takes on a new challenge – leading the boys squad at Concord after spending five seasons at New Prairie.

“I just kind of had that itch to stay competitive and this is a way to do it,” she said. “I love basketball and that’s what my passion is in my life.”

DeShone’s experiences on the court and on the sidelines certainly excite the players about her promotion. And beyond that, her youthful outlook help too.

“When I found out, I was super excited. I was ready to get going,” said rising senior Aryana Shelton. “I know she brings a lot to the table. She brings a lot of energy. She scrimmages sometimes with us in practice sometimes and we get to interact with her. I think it really makes us better.”

For DeShone, the first step in her program getting better is using this camp as an opportunity to build upon the connection and culture expected in The Cave.

“The younger girls can see that and I hope they really pay attention closely because our girls are showing what Mishawaka girls basketball is all about.”

Along with her role as an assistant last season, DeShone was the head coach of the girls tennis team in the Fall. With her new schedule, she makes a transition to head coach of boys tennis next Spring.

Academically, DeShone will serve as a P.E. and Health teacher at the high school.

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