Following an all-conference season during which she was the team’s leading offensive option, Rocky River’s Hydeia Harvey knew she had to be even better this year if she was going to come close to duplicating her production.
Further adding to her premonition, when she arrived at pre-season practice seeing four freshmen and no seniors on the Ravens’ roster, Harvey knew she’d be asked to carry even more of the scoring load than she previously had.
She was more than ready to do just that, but it turns out she didn’t have to. The freshmen contributed immediately, and they pushed Harvey who, at first, pushed back in not wanting to give up her all-conference role on an up-and-coming team.
“It was a little difficult at the beginning, but I matured and knew it was for the betterment of the team,” Harvey said. “So I knew that’s what should happen so we could focus on winning.”
And the Ravens’ focus paid off as they won a school record 19 games and added their first-ever playoff win behind the leadership and maturity of Harvey.
“I really tried to step up. We had four freshmen and I knew I had to step up as a leader,” the junior captain said. “I knew we had the team to change the history of Rocky River basketball, which we did. It was great and it shows the potential that we have on this team.”
With Harvey leading the way, the Ravens flourished. Two freshmen – Ta’Naeshcia Dorsey (13 points per game) and Ariana Nance (11 points) – thrived in the Rocky River offense and sophomores Jordan Soares (7.6 points) and Makayla Carter (7.3 points) stepped up their production, as well.
But it was Harvey who had the breakout year, averaging 11.1 points, eight rebounds, 2.4 steals and two assists per game, putting the Ravens’ best-ever season squarely on her shoulders and earning her the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2014 Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly Girls Basketball Player of the Year title.
“Any time that I’m part of a team, I want to do whatever I can to help the team win,” Harvey said. “I really tried to set myself in a position to where I can help us win – it doesn’t matter if it’s scoring, rebounding or hitting the open man – I’m just trying to make everyone better and get it to where we’d win the game.”
That’s the same approach Harvey uses off the court, too. The junior class vice president carries a 4.5 grade-point average and is on the Junior Council at an area chapter of the Boys and Girls Club volunteering with elementary-aged children. She also volunteers at the Charlotte Crisis Center with the Delta Gems helping out the less fortunate. Ask around the Rocky River hallways and it’s challenging to find anything but high praise of her work both on the court and in the classroom.
It’s that kind of all-around package that’s already attracted recruiting interest from Jacksonville State (Ala.), Delaware State and Wingate, among
This offseason, Harvey is planning to play with the Carolina Basketball Club Dream AAU team, where she hopes to catch the eye of more recruiters. Plus, with the Ravens returning intact, Harvey is looking to come back even stronger next season and take Rocky River girls basketball to the next rung on the ladder of success.
“I’m excited about next year already,” Harvey said. “It will be my senior year and we have so many people back that I’m hoping we can go to state championship level and change the perception of Rocky River basketball.
“We went from a losing record to (19-8) and I feel like we can show people we have the potential to do things greater than that and I want to be a big part of it.”