Chickasaw sisters paired up to claim a runner-up spot at the Oklahoma 4A State Tennis Championships in May. Allison and Natalie Keel teamed up to form one of Okla-homa’s top Class 4A girls num-ber one doubles teams. The sis-ters played for Ada High School where Allison was a senior and Natalie a freshman.
The girls’ high school coach, Skip Griese, took a gamble by putting the experienced Alli-son with her freshman sister Natalie.But the gamble paid off in a big way.“They were a good combi-nation,” Coach Griese said. “It was an experiment at first to see if they would get along on the court. After watching them in practice, there was no doubt they would be a good team.”
The Keel sisters marched their way through the Spring 4A tournaments on the road to the State Tennis Champion-ships. At the state tournament, the Keels didn’t lose a set as they moved through the num-ber one doubles bracket. They would face perennial power Metro Christian in the state finals.The Keels started the match strong winning the first set 6-4. But things went awry when the powerful Metro Christian duo of Becky Orr and Becca Richardson reeled off 11 straight games to win the second set 6-0, and hold a commanding 5-0 lead in the third set.
But the Keel sisters once again caught fire. After dodging match point in the sixth game and breaking Orr’s serve, Allison and Natalie rattled off five straight games to knot the third set at 5-5. The set would soon move to 6-6 and a tie-breaker.
The Keels ended up with a runner-up finish, losing the tie-breaker 7-4. But the comeback effort left the Metro Christian champs drained.“That was one of the best comebacks I’ve seen,” Coach Griese said. “It just came up a little short. “I’m very proud of these girls. We saw state tour-nament tennis at its very fin-est.” Allison finished her high school tennis career with a 95-25 record. She was a three-time regional champion.
Following the state tournament, Allison was named to the East squad for this summer’s All-State Games in Tulsa.Allison and Natalie are the daughters of Jay and Donna Keel, of Ada.
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