By Scott Kindberg
Jennie Thies was one of the area's finest high school basketball players during her tenure at Southwestern Central School.
Southwestern Central School graduate Jennie Thies drives to the basket during a Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 game against Olean in February 2012.
P-J file photo
In fact, as a senior, she averaged 23 points, 12 rebounds and 3.4 assists, and set the Lady Trojans' career scoring mark with 1,054 points.
Thies' jump to college hoops has met with milestones as well, and her freshman season at Gannon University isn't over yet.
For at 9:30 (Eastern) tonight, the seventh-ranked Lady Knights (31-4) will take on No. 2 Ashland in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
Thies, for her part, will be one of the first reserves off the bench.
A 6-foot, forward, Thies has played in 34 games and is averaging 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in just under 12 minutes per contest.
''Jennie has been playing very well lately,'' said Anne Beck, Thies' coach at SWCS. ''She played 20 minutes in the first round of the East Region. She suffered an eye injury in the next game, causing her to play only the first half.''
The Lakewood resident's top individual efforts this season include 10 points against Edinboro, eight rebounds against Slippery Rock, and three assists and two steals against Fairmount State. She was named the PSAC freshman of the week for the week ending Feb. 18.
Gannon advanced to the Elite Eight after a 50-47 victory against California (Pa.) University in the Atlantic Regional title game. The Lady Knights rallied from a nine-point deficit after scoring only 13 first-half points. Ashland, meanwhile, was ranked No. 1 during the first 12 national polls this season, and can tie the NCAA Division II record for victories in a season (37) set by Gannon in 2009-2010 by winning the national title. Ashland fell to Shaw in overtime during last year's national championship game.
Gannon is coached by Cleve Wright, who has posted a 170-48 record since becoming the program's head coach on May 16, 2002.