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GC Basketball: Saniya Burks, Javon Betts named Golden Circle Basketball Players of the Year

Apr. 9—Saniya!

That says it all.

Slender and smooth — oh so smooth — and courageous and gutsy, and smart and savvy are some of the endless words you can say about Rice's Saniya Burks, who wrapped up the greatest career in girls high school basketball in the history of the Golden Circle this season, winning her fourth consecutive All-Golden Circle Girls Player of the Year award.

Saniya, a high school generational talent, did it all and more, leaving an incredible exclamation point on an unforgettable career at Rice, where she lifted the program to new heights every time she walked on the court.

She walked off the court after scoring more than 3,700 points and finishing in the top five in the nation in scoring as a junior and the No. 2 scorer in the nation as a senior, averaging 39.9 points a game this season. That's just a tick under a 40-point average to go along with 8.5 rebounds, 5.6 steals and four assists a game when opponents routinely doubled and tripled teamed her — and at times had five girls surrounding her.

There were many nights, especially in the postseason, when she was knocked to the floor and roughed up time and time again only to get back up and make teams pay after officials told her father, Rice Coach Antonio Burks, that his daughter had been fouled but she still continued the play with no disadvantage, so there was a no call. Guess she was just too good to be fouled ...

Coach Burks was named the Golden Circle Girls Coach of the Year, for the fourth year in a row, He has won or shared the GC Boys Coach of the Year three times. He shar the 2024 Girls Coach of the Year with Fost's Dalton Smith, who did a an amazing job in his first season as a Head Coach at Frost, where his Lady Polar Bears, who started just one senior, won 26 games and advanced to the Area Round in the playoffs.

Saniya is a multiple All-State and two-time All-American, who is off to Texas State for a brand new career in college after leaving a mind-blowing legacy that will likely never be duplicated.

She had some head-shaking performances as a senior, scoring 47, 54 and a career-high 75 points in games this season. The 75er came on Senior Night when Saniya scored 75 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and made 15 steals.

If you never had a chance to see her play, it's just a shame. Saniya was no 6-4 monster, towering over opponents. Nope, she was slim and petite, a 5-7 beauty who looks more like a ballerina than young lady who torched teams every time she walked on the court.

Saniya ...

'Nuff said.

Corsicana's Javon Betts is the 2024 Golden Circle Boys Player of the Year. Betts, a junior, averaged 16.7 points a game and ran the offense for the Tigers, who faced a fierce list of district opponents, including state power Red Oak and 5A state champion Lancaster, which won the state title by 29 points.

The Tigers have made giant strides in the past three seasons and Betts was at the heart of that rise along with Tiger Coach Sunny Hardy, whose team had one of the best seasons at Corsicana since 2015 in Hardy's third season at CHS.

Dawson's Cole Pemberton was named the Golden Circle's Boys Coach of the Year for the third season in a row, sharing the honor with Mildred's Lance Key, who did a remarkable job, leading the Eagles to their best season in a decade.

Here's a look at everyone on the girls and boys 2024 All-Golden Circle Basketball teams:

Player of the Year

Saniya Burks, Senior, Rice

Offensive Player of the Year

Brenda Manrriquez, Sophomore, Frost

Defensive Player of the Year

Kami Owen, Senior, Mildred

Most Versatile Player of the Year

Nevaeh Thomas, Sophomore, Corsicana

Rebounder of the Year

Aaliyah Nezar, Senior, Rice

Hustler of the Year

Mackenzie Lee, Sophomore, Frost

Newcomer of the Year

Malaina Bryan, Freshman, Dawson

Co-Coaches of the Year

Antonio Burks, Rice

Dalton Smith, Frost

FIRST-TEAM

Brooke McGraw, Junior, Blooming Grove

Olivia Adams, Sophomore, Corsicana

Marcella Bryan, Senior, Mildred

Kris Owen, Junior, Mildred

Callie Marberry, Senior, Dawson

Joselyn Wilson, Sophomore, Dawson

KK Davis, Senior, Rice

Brynna Banks, Junior, Frost

Karlee Anderson, Senior, Frost

Breelyn Dyer, Senior, Frost

ALL GOLDEN CIRCLE BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM

Player of the Year

Javon Betts, Junior, Corsicana

Offensive Player of the Year

Elijah Allen, Senior, Dawson

Defensive Player of the Year

Hastin Easley, Senior, Dawson

Most Versatile Player of the Year

Ashton Moore, Junior, Mildred

Rebounder of the Year

LJ Williams, Senior, Corsicana

Hustler of the Year

Payton Durham, Senior, Mildred

Newcomer of the Year

Jalon Burks, Freshman, Rice

Co-Coaches of the Year

Lance Key, Mildred

Cole Pemberton, Dawson

First-Team

Brennan Moore, Junior, Mildred

Colby Springer, Senior, Dawson

Michael Horn-Reece, Junior, Corsicana

David Lee, Senior, Corsicana

Corbet Roman, Senior, Corsicana

Kam Mize, Senior, Blooming Grove

Muziq Gunnell, Junior, Kerens

Bryce Lincoln, Junior, Kerens

Eli Rogers, Senior, Frost

Cooper Curl, Senior, Frost