GC Girls Basketball: Rice comes back, knocks off No. 7 Malakoff

Jan. 22—MALAKOFF — Saniya can come back, too.

Saniya Burks can do just about everything on a basketball court — even lead a comeback.

Saniya, who is the No. 3 scorer in the nation for the Rice Lady Dawgs, has led Rice all year, and has been on fire during the team's 10-game winning streak, and on Friday night in Malakoff, where they pack the gym with a loud and boisterous crowd that can intimidate any high school team in Texas, Saniya proved she can lead a comeback.

She lifted Rice to a 63-56 dramatic comeback victory over No. 7 Malakoff Friday night to forge a tie for the top spot in the District 18-3A race, where Rice and Malakoff are tied at the top with 8-1 records.

Malakoff edged Rice, 51-48 back on December 15, but the Lady Dawgs haven't lost since and caught Malakoff Friday night with five games left in the regular season.

"I'm very proud of the way the young ladies fought in this game! Being down by 11 points and fighting back to take the lead in the fourth quarter was amazing in front of a big crowd," said Saniya's father, Rice girls Coach Antonio Burks.

"Saniya couldn't get anything going in the first half," he said. "But she found her touch in the second half, making five 3-pointers in the third quarter."

She just didn't make five remarkable 3s to ignite Rice's comeback, she made shot after shot when everyone in the packed gym knew Malakoff had to stop her — and threw everything at Saniya.

By the time the game was over, Saniya had poured in 48 points and pulled down seven rebounds against the taller Malakoff team.

Malakoff was led by Hillary Dawson, but in the fourth quarter the Rice defense slowed Dawson down and the Lady Dawgs took the lead and extended it to seven points.

"The ladies struggled to keep Hillary Dawson off the boards," Coach Burks said. "But when the game got tight in the fourth they locked down on defense and flew around the gym covering for each other like a family!"

It was a one-for-all-all-for-one defensive effort from the Rice girls, who have played for each other over the last four seasons with a grit and devotion that has made this team special in every way.

Saniya is an All-American, and the rest of the team plays with an All-American heart and togetherness that has lifted the program. Coach Burks is dead-on right when he calls his young ladies a "Family."

Chole Perry was tough all night Friday and finished with six points and four rebounds and the Nezar Sisters — Aaliyah and Liviyah — who have both been a huge part of Rice's success over the past three seasons, each scored three points Friday along with KK Davis, one of the Golden Circle's best clutch players.

It was a big win Friday for the Lady Bulldogs and another step toward the playoffs and hopefully a run to the state tournament.

If they get there, it's like Burks says, they will arrive together as a "Family."