Switzerland County senior Aleiah Thomas (20) drives between two Lawrenceburg defenders during the Rivertown Classic championship game on Jan. 10 at South Dearborn. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Switzerland County senior Aleiah Thomas (20) drives between two Lawrenceburg defenders during the Rivertown Classic championship game on Jan. 10 at South Dearborn. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Aleiah Thomas used her athleticism and shooting ability to lead the Courierarea in scoring this past season. Now the Switzerland County High School senior is hoping to do the same thing for Franklin College.

Thomas officially signed to play for Franklin late last week during a ceremony at her home. It was a big day for the Switzerland guard, who finished the season as her school’s all-time leading scorer.

“Coach (Mark) Boggs and I took a visit up there and I stepped on the campus and instantly fell in love with it,” Thomas said. “It’s beautiful there and everybody is so welcoming and so friendly. They really show you that they want you there. They make you feel involved.”

Thomas has been a starter for Switzerland County since her freshman year. While arguably the most athletic player in the area, Thomas also had a high basketball IQ and it showed every time she stepped on the court.

Boggs said that Thomas’ biggest issue as a player was harnessing that athleticism for good. At times his star had a tendency to try to do too much, but as she matured, she became more in control.

“That was something that she got better with every year. She could definitely be reckless in her younger years,” Boggs said. “But she kept working on it and by her senior year she was playing some pretty poised basketball.”

Thomas ended up averaging 16.5 points-per-game this year for the 15-9 Lady Pacers and finished tied with Trimble County junior Shelby Wilcoxson atop the area scoring. Late in the season she passed Brooke Todd to become the school’s all-time leading scorer and finished her career with 1,315 points.

Thomas joins a Franklin College squad that went 17-9 this past season and was the No. 3 seed in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. The Grizzlies reached the HCAC semifinals where they dropped a 72-59 decision to Hanover.

Thomas said that she is looking forward to joining the Franklin program and is ready to do whatever coach Dana Haggenjos asks.

“I really don’t know what she expects but if she expects me to come in there and a be a bench player and have a role that was totally different than what I’m used to in high school then that’s fine with me,” Thomas said. “As long as I just get to play.”

Boggs believes his star can make an impact right away.

“The thing I was really excited about this year was how her shooting improved. We’ve always said that her athleticism and her ability score off the bounce and off defense has always been one of her assets,” Boggs said. “But the fact that she was shooting better this year — she was around 36 percent from 3-point range this year — that just adds another dimension. I think she’s a kid that can guard at a high level and she can definitely score.”

Thomas plans on majoring in counseling with an eye toward become a high school counselor down the road.