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“Sister Act” ready to take center court for the IU Northwest RedHawks

Former Kouts High School basketball stars and sisters, Juliette and Annmarie Keller, reunite on the Lady RedHawks basketball team

Sisters and IU Northwest teammates Juliette and Annmarie Keller

Christopher Sheid/IU Northwest Office of Marketing and Communications
Sisters and IU Northwest teammates Juliette and Annmarie Keller

Sisters Juliette and Annmarie Keller, formerly two of Kouts High School’s top girls basketball players, have once again joined forces as they take center court as teammates on the Indiana University Northwest women’s basketball team.

Juliette, a graduate of Kouts High School in 2008, led her high school basketball team to victory that year with younger sister, Annmarie, as the team became the Indiana State Girls Basketball 1A Sectional Champions.

Following graduation, Juliette joined the Lady RedHawks team, becoming a top scorer and solid teammate who helped lead a resurgent IU Northwest women’s basketball program to back-to-back 20-win seasons, the team’s most successful ever. The team has made three national tournament appearances, and it won a conference championship in the Association of Independent Institutions last season.

In 2010, Annmarie Keller chose to join her sister at IU Northwest, after a career as one of Kouts’ all-time leading scorers. 

“When we restarted our women’s basketball program at IU Northwest, it was obvious we needed stronger talent, and even more importantly, we needed student athletes who would be committed and dedicated, not only to the sport, but to their academics,” said IU Northwest head women’s basketball coach Ryan Shelton. “Juliette and Annmarie are both very talented players and committed students.

“I know we can count on them on and off the court, and that commitment to our program means a lot to me,” he added. “I feel very fortunate to have them on our team.”

‘Sister Act’

While close off the court, Juliette and Annmarie are fierce competitors who look forward to competing against each other in practices and scrimmages.

“I’m planning not to lose any games this season; I’ll do whatever it takes,” Juliette said.  “I’m excited to play with Annmarie. We have great chemistry on the court, and it’s a strong advantage to our team to have another shooter on the floor.” 

Annmarie, only a few weeks into practice, has her own goals and aspirations for the Lady RedHawks.

“I’m very excited about this upcoming season and I want to help the team by going even farther in nationals,” Annmarie said. “I am also excited to be playing with my sister again. We push each other, which is a positive aspect of playing together.”

Previous success

The fortunes of the RedHawks’ program changed dramatically with the commitment of Juliette when she joined the team in Fall 2008. 

“I wasn’t sure how long it would take for IU Northwest’s women’s basketball program to become competitive,” Shelton said. “However, I knew once we had Juliette on our roster that the team was well on its way. 

“Juliette’s decision to earn her IU degree and continue her basketball career with us helped pave the way for additional recruits that have also been the foundation of the team’s success,” he added. 

Other top recruiting coups for the IU Northwest women’s team in recent years have included All-American Sharon Houston, All-Conference guard Nina Wills, and forwards Jenelle Kapelinski and Kym Daniels, among others.

Juliette was named USCAA National Player of the Week and earned a spot on the A.I.I. All-Conference team in both her freshman and sophomore seasons. She holds the university’s records for three-point field goals in a game, three-point field goals in a season and highest free-throw percentage. Last season, Juliette scored a career-high 34 points in a road win over Holy Cross College. 

“Juliette is a great player, student, teammate and genuine person,” Shelton said. “It’s no coincidence that our program became successful and we started winning games the moment she arrived.”

While Juliette and the RedHawks were making their presence felt on a national level, younger sister Annmarie was busy leading Kouts to a 79-13 record and four straight sectional championships, all while earning a reputation as one of the most explosive scorers in the region.

Kouts High School was at the top of the Indiana State Class A Poll consistently during Annmarie’s career. She finished her high school career as one of the top scorers in the school’s history and is Kouts’ all-time leading free throw shooter.  

“After seeing the sisters play together in 2008, I actually began recruiting Annmarie even before Juliette had committed to the IU Northwest team,” Shelton said. “Years before she could join a collegiate team, I knew Annmarie was a big-time player. I’m happy IU Northwest was her top choice.”

Other notable recruits joining Annmarie in the 2010 recruiting class include Boone Grove’s Kelly Dobson, Kankakee Valley’s Marisa Butler, Portage’s Brianne Wischmann, and Hebron’s Kara Cunningham.    

With both Kellers and the rest of their stellar recruiting class in tow, the Lady RedHawks look forward to their first home game on Monday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m., when they will take on Clarke College in the Savannah Center.

“We look forward to an exciting and successful season,” Shelton added. “And, most importantly, we look forward to defending the 2010 A.I.I. Championship title in March and returning to the national tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.”


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Emily Banas
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Charles Sheid
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