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Tribune Top Five Female Athletes: No. 2 Alli Keyser

Josh VanDyke • Jul 26, 2018 at 1:00 AM

The Tribune is counting down our top five male and female athletes, as well as teams, for the 2017-18 school year. The No. 2 female athlete this year is Grand Haven's Alli Keyser. The multi-sport phenom was a playmaker on the basketball court and the soccer pitch this year.

When you reach career milestones and accomplish feats that have never been reached before, it's a seminal moment.

When you do all these things as a junior with another season to spare, it adds even more prestige to the already incredible moment.

That's the case for Alli Keyser, as the playmaking point guard became the first junior in the history of both girls and boys basketball at Grand Haven High School to reach 1,000 career points as just an 11th-grader.

On Feb. 23 during a road game against Caledonia, Keyser scored 21 points in a heartbreaking 42-40 loss to the Fighting Scots. Keyser added a clutch, go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to tie the game at 40, but a full-court layup by Caledonia as time expired would damper the celebration of Keyser's big accomplishment.

"I've coached four of the five 1,000-point scorers at Grand Haven, but she's the first player to do it as a junior," said Grand Haven girls basketball coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer. "Alli and I never really talk about stats, but I knew it was coming up soon. She puts so much time into her game, so I'm happy to see her accomplish this and be rewarded for her hard work.

"It was a big moment for her and the whole team was rooting for her to get it."

HIGH-LEVEL HOOPER

Keyser finished her junior campaign with 16 points per game average to go along with four assists per game and four steals per game. She was named first team All-Conference in a loaded O-K Red league for the third year in a row and added a Class A honorable mention nod by the Associated Press, as well.

The Northwood University commit will continue her basketball career at the college level in two years, but still has a full season to scorch more nets and create an even brighter legacy within the annals of the Grand Haven basketball program's already storied history.

GRAND HAVEN GIRLS BASKETBALL COACH KATIE KOWALCZYK-FULMER

On what makes Keyser such a special athlete

"Alli is a very special athlete, because she's talented, but also a competitor. She doesn't just rest on her natural talent, she keeps pushing herself to get better.

"She has great foot speed and quickness and anticipates very well. That is not something that you can teach. On top of her being an outstanding athlete, she is a great team leader. She makes everyone on her team better. She leads by example and gets it done on both ends of the floor."

On coaching Keyser

"She is extremely coachable and has been a pleasure to coach during my time with her. She is very committed to basketball and works very hard at her game. She is always in the gym doing four-player and individual workouts, traveling to play AAU, and also spends a ton of time in the gym working on her shot. She spends hours on the shooting machine.

"When she came here as a freshman, I knew she was a special athlete. She hated to lose and was so competitive. She made All-Conference as a freshman in the O-K Red, which is not very common."

On Keyser's playmaking abilities

"Over the past three seasons, she has hit some big shots for us in big games. You want the ball in her hands when the game is on the line. I remember her freshman year, she hit a deep three against a very good East Kentwood team to win the game. This past season, she hit a three against Caledonia to tie the game, which also was her 1,000th point.

"She was the first junior in the history of Grand Haven boys and girls basketball to score 1,000 points, and I anticipate she will leave Grand Haven as the all-time leading scorer in the program. If she wanted, she could score 30 points a game and pat her stats, but she knows that won't help the team win. She gets her teammates involved, she uses her court vision to put them in a position to score, and the end result was us finishing second in the conference and nearly knocking off a few powerhouse programs along the way."

On senior season outlook

"I know Alli has high hopes for our team this year. It is her senior year, and we came up short the last few seasons. We hope to keep everyone healthy this year and compete for championships. It doesn't get much better than Alli Keyser. She has a great work ethic and has been a great role model for all the players in our program. I am excited about the season and I know she is also."

SOCCER STAR

During the fall season, Keyser is involved in club soccer, when she's not working on her jumpshot in the gym. After the basketball season is over, Keyser quickly trades her basketball sneakers for a set of spikes, as she brings her quickness and playmaking ability to the soccer pitch for the Buccaneers.

This spring, Keyser scored 24 goals and added 15 assists to fuel the Bucs attack. She was named first team All-Conference for her efforts and was a driving force behind a Grand Haven squad that finished 10-7-2.

GRAND HAVEN GIRLS SOCCER COACH YVONNE MCKESSY

On what makes Keyser a special athlete

"She's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen. She never stops working on her craft and on top of how talented she is, she's also extremely humble. She's a coach's dream because you always want your best players to be the hardest workers and that's the case with Alli.

"As a soccer player, her quickness is what really sets her apart. She flies down the field and can normally run down any longball we send toward the other team's net. She also has great vision, which makes her a great playmaker. She often sets up her teammates, like Jennifer Dear, for prime scoring chances because she recognizes what the defense is doing and makes adjustments before they do."

On Keyser as a leader

"She's always very kind and helpful with her teammates. She really started to take a leadership role on the team this season. She sees the field so well, so it's really nice to see her vocalize that. I think she didn't want the spotlight on her at first, but I think she realizes now that she's helping her teammates when she speaks up and tells them what she is seeing out there.

"I've been really impressed with how she's accepted that role as a junior. We have a lot of younger and inexperienced players in our varsity program right now and she's created an atmosphere that is welcoming to all. That's such a big deal to any team. There are no egos involved, everyone gets along and it's a positive setting."

On the first impression of Keyser

"I knew she was fast, but I didn't know how fast. I watched her play during club season, because my travel team played against hers a few times. She's an amazing athlete, and to see how hard she works at practice as her coach just really hammered that point home on me."

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