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East County Athlete of the Week: Mela Sharma

The Braden River senior talks winning districts and visiting family in India

Mela Sharma.
Mela Sharma.
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Mela Sharma is a 5-foot-11 senior forward on the Braden River High girls basketball team. She was named to the Willie Clemons Memorial Classic all-tournament team on Dec. 29, and the Pirates (14-0) went 3-0 and won the tournament championship 51-35 over Southeast High the same day. For the season, Sharma is averaging seven points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game. 

When did you start playing basketball?

At the end of my eighth grade year at Nolan (Middle). I had shot the ball around before that, but never played on a team. I played lacrosse, but decided I wanted to try something new, so I tried basketball. 

What is the appeal to you?

I like the competition and the adrenaline you get when you play. In lacrosse, every little thing would get called as a penalty. In basketball, you don't have to worry about accidentally bumping into someone and getting called. You can be more physical, more aggressive. 

What is your best skill?

I am good at noticing when someone on my team is open and getting them the ball. 

What is your favorite memory?

Winning the district tournament last year, for the first time in school history. O'Mariah (Gordon, sophomore guard) and Julia (Rodriguez, sophomore guard) were a big part of that, obviously, but we also made each other better as a team. 

What has been your biggest challenge?

I am pretty skinny, but I play in the post, so I am going up against bigger girls than me. It is difficult to be as physical as them sometimes, so I learned to use my agility to get around them. 

What is your favorite TV show?

I watched repeats of "Malcolm in the Middle" all the time before it went off Netflix. 

What is your dream vacation spot?

I am half-Indian and my dad (Vishal Sharma) was born in India, in New Delhi. I go back with him once or twice a year and I always enjoy that. 

What is your favorite subject?

I am taking French right now, and I would like to minor in it in college and eventually be fluent in it. 

What is the best advice you have received?

It was not necessarily advice, but coach (Stephanie) Smith told me I have the potential to play after high school if I continue to work hard. She is the first coach to tell me I have a future in basketball. She is the first coach I feel like cares about me. Now I just have to push myself hard. 

Finish this sentence: "Mela Sharma is ... "

... Determined. I do not ever want to lose. I always try my best to be the best, and I do not fall short. If I have a bad game, I will make up for it next game. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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