By Kevin Baker

Sports Writer

The Rocky River Ravens girls’ basketball team defeated the game but overmatched the Sun Valley Spartans last Friday night 49-36 on the Ravens’ home court. This was the second time the Ravens and Spartans have played this year. The Ravens won the first meeting, at Sun Valley, 39-36.
The Raven girls had to come from behind in that game to pull out the win. There was no such drama this time around. The final score was not indicative of the Ravens’ dominance.
The Ravens were intent to set the tempo from the beginning. They won the tap and immediately went inside the lane. The shot was missed, but the strategy was apparent. Rocky River wanted to push the pace. In fact, both teams came out of the locker room pressing full court. This seemed to play right into the Ravens’ girls hands as they shot out to a 16-5 lead. Sun Valley fought back to 16-10 in the last minute of the first quarter. Rocky River had the ball last and worked the clock down for the last shot. Senior Center Aliyah Hason scored on a pretty inside move at the buzzer and the quarter ended with Rocky River leading 18-10.
The Ravens’ unyielding pressure began to take its toll on the Spartans in the second quarter. Sun Valley scored the first basket of the quarter, and then Rocky River went on a 12-0 run all the way to the end of the half, which ended with the Ravens on top 30-12. The top scorers for Rocky River in the half were Sophomore Guard Hydeia Harvey with eight points, while Freshman Guard Jordan Soares and Aliyah Hason had six points apiece.
The third quarter was played in a similar fashion. Coach Gadson kept up the pressure, substituting effectively to keep fresh legs on the court. Sun Valley couldn’t match the Ravens’ depth and speed. The third quarter ended with Rocky River having extended its lead to 41-21.
With the Ravens having a 20-point lead to start the last quarter, the game degenerated into a sloppy affair. Sun Valley was attempting to play catch-up by gunning three pointers from all angles. To their credit, they made some and were successful in forcing the young Ravens squad into some unforced turnovers. Although the Spartans did reduce the lead, the game was never in doubt.
Game Notes
Hydeia Harvey was the Ravens’ headliner in this game. She had 13 points, 14 rebounds, three steals, and really is the player that makes the team go. 
“We came out in the first half and really established how we wanted to attack, Coach Gadson said. “We were able to put some pressure on the ball, which caused them to rush offensively. We took advantage of that and got a good lead.”
Having played the same Sun Valley squad so recently, this game could be used as a barometer for how the team is progressing. 
“I feel like there is some improvement from the first time we played them, when we squeaked out the win. We did some things better and we have to continue to improve. I wish we could have closed out the game stronger, but give the Sun Valley girls some credit, they didn’t quit and we knew they’d make a run at us at some point, and they did.”
Team Notes
Second year head coach Odis Gadson has a young team that was 10-15 last year. The youth does show in some areas throughout a game, but the experience they get in playing early in their high school careers will pay dividends down the line.
“We only have three seniors,” Coach Gadson said. “Our main players handling the ball are sophomores and freshmen. They are learning high school basketball on the run, so there is a learning curve and there will be bumps along the way. One thing I can say is this whole team works very hard and is unselfish as a team. With our overall youth, I expect them to improve as the season goes along.”
The girls’ Junior Varsity also won, 30-19.
At this point in the season, the Ravens have a record of 3-1. They have defeated Sun Valley High School 39-36 and 49-36. They started the season beating West Mecklenburg High School 65-61. Their only defeat was at home against Harding University High School, 70-47.
Coming up
The team has a busy schedule leading up to Christmas: December 11 at Olympic High School, December 13 at
Phillip O. Berry High School, December 18 at home vs Providence High School, and December 21 at Butler High School.