The only question remaining for the Rice Bulldogs is whether they will win the District 18-3A title or go to the playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
They will face Malakoff in a first-place showdown later this week, but they looked unbeatable Friday night at Mildred, where Elizhah Nezar had one of the best games of his career to lead Rice to a 72-47 win over the Eagles, who battled Rice in a one-point loss earlier this season at Rice.
But Antonio Burks’ team has been churning toward the rematch with Malakoff, which won a controversial game at Rice with a basket at the buzzer to beat the Bulldogs 68-67 earlier.
The game wasn’t controversial but a wild brawl that broke out afterward when the Malakoff fans stormed the court and joined the Malakoff players in front of the Rice bleachers that followed the game left an ugly and bad taste throughout the district.
The one-point loss to Malakoff is all that separates the two teams in the district race.
Rice improved to 10-1 in the district with a 44-33 win over Palmer on Tuesday and a one-sided win on Friday night.
Nezar scored 19 points and hauled down 14 rebounds against Palmer and was even better against Mildred.
He scored 37 points and grabbed 15 rebounds while handing out six assists for the second time in two games Friday night.
Hayden Brown, who has been burning opponents with 3-pointers all season, dropped in 13 points and Dakota Jessie ands Michael McMillon scored seven points each for the Bulldogs.
Brown scored eight points Tuesday in the victory over Palmer and Tanner Carlisle had a 10-point night on Tuesday.
Rice is now 21-5 overall with three games left in the season, beginning Tuesday at home against Scurry-Rosser.
Mildred still has playoff hopes and plays a key game Tuesday night at Blooming Grove.
The Blooming Grove Lions lost to Palmer Friday night on the road.
Andrew Roberts led the Lions with 13 points ad Timmy Hamilton followed with six.
The Lions were without two of their top players as Ethan Nors and Colton Nicholson did not play.
Blooming Grove will be at home Tuesday night in a key game against Mildred.