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CHARLES H. CLARK AWARD / NASSAU PLAYER OF THE YEAR / It's Her Icing On The Cake Bethany is the best for 3rd straight year

Bethany LeSueur was always good for a laugh when the LeSueur family needed

it.

Paul and Liz LeSueur, Bethany's parents, were tremendous athletes who were

blessed with four children, including Paul, Sarah and Peter, Bethany's twin

brother. The three were excellent lacrosse and soccer players, even at a young

age. But Bethany? "She was different," Liz said. "She marched to her own beat.

If it was raining, she'd be out in the yard rolling around in a puddle . . .

She was the goofy one who went her own way."

In going that way, though, Bethany LeSueur was merely searching for an

outlet for all of her energy and passion. "I was a goofy kid," said LeSueur,

who also participated in soccer, lacrosse and swimming. "I was a little bit out

of it, and I think my parents thought I would be the one kid who didn't play

sports. Then I just fell into basketball."

Saying LeSueur fell into basketball is like saying Beethoven was fond of

the piano.

LeSueur instantly fell in love with the game. Soon, her father was on the

phone looking to get Bethany on a team. Rich Hernandez remembers the day he

first met Bethany.

"Paul brought Bethany and her friend to meet me," said Hernandez, whose

son, Jason, recently completed an outstanding basketball career at Hofstra.

"After they worked out, I told her friend she could play on one of our other

AAU teams, and I told Paul, 'Bethany is playing for me.' The rest is history."

Since then, all LeSueur has done is make Long Island basketball history.

She became the first seventh-grader to play varsity basketball for Garden City

and went on to become Long Island's all-time leading scorer with 3,167 points.

This season, the 5-10 senior guard averaged 29.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.0

assists and 5.1 steals per game.

When coaches and officials met with Newsday staff members to decide on the

Charles H. Clark Award winners for Nassau and Suffolk, there wasn't even a need

to take a vote for the Nassau player of the year. Everyone was in agreement.

For the third straight year, LeSueur has been named Nassau's top player.

LeSueur, who will attend the University of Virginia on a basketball

scholarship, recently was asked how she would like to be remembered on the

court.

"As a complete player who did well on offense and defense," she said. "I

wasn't just a scorer."

She was a player who left Long Island with enough basketball memories to

last two lifetimes.

People will swear they were there the day the Garden City girls basketball

legend was born: Dec. 6, 1995, when LeSueur came off the bench to score 14

points against St. Mary's in her first varsity game. Or that they saw LeSueur

drop 30 on Sachem and Nicole Kaczmarski (24 points) in Garden City's 32-point

road win on Jan. 9, 1999. Or that they were witnesses almost two years later

when LeSueur broke Kaczmarski's Long Island scoring record of 2,583 points in a

win against Floral Park on Jan. 5.

It shouldn't be forgotten, though, that LeSueur was an All-State soccer

midfielder as a junior. She showed her versatility when she filled in as the

Trojans' goalkeeper as a sophomore because the starting keeper was injured.

LeSueur, who had played soccer since she was in kindergarten but had never

played keeper, went 5-1 with four shutouts.

LeSueur's athletic roots are easily traced. Her mother was a nationally

ranked AAU swimmer who also swam in college. Her father played professional

soccer with the New York Cosmos. Bethany's brother Paul played lacrosse at

Johns Hopkins and graduated in 1999. Sarah, her sister, plays lacrosse at Notre

Dame. Peter, Bethany's younger brother by five minutes, is an All-American

lacrosse player at Garden City and will play at Johns Hopkins.

The LeSueur family thought Bethany would follow in the lacrosse tradition.

She made the varsity team as a freshman, but the family soon realized where

Bethany's heart was. The Garden City lacrosse team took a trip to Florida

during spring break, and LeSueur packed a basketball with her. Whenever there

was down time, LeSueur was looking for a pickup game. "We knew then," Liz said,

"she didn't want to play lacrosse."

LeSueur had a bigger goal, a better plan and a greater vision.

"If you work hard, you'll find something you really like," LeSueur said.

"Garden City wasn't a basketball town, but I wanted to start something and

stick with it . . . I wanted to make a name for myself."

Bethany LeSueur File

School: Garden City Grade: Senior

Height: 5-10 Position: Guard

BY THE NUMBERS

Year GP Avg. Ast. Reb. Stl.

2000-2001 24 29.0 6.0 8.2 5.1

1999-2000 21 30.9 6.1 11.1 6.1

1998-1999 25 28.0 6.0 10.5 6.0

1997-1998 22 23.7 5.0 8.3 5.0

1996-1997 21 16.6 3.5 4.9 4.1

1995-1996 20 12.6 2.3 3.8 2.9

Totals 133 24.0 4.9 7.9 5.0

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Bethany LeSueur is the most prolific scorer in Long Island history with 3,167

career points . . . She is No. 2 on the state's all-time list behind Caryn

Schoff of St. Johnsville (Section II) with 3,548 . . . This season, the

Virginia-bound LeSueur became only the third Long Island player to win the Miss

New York Basketball award . . . LeSueur is just the second Nassau player to

win the Charles H. Clark award three straight years . . . LeSueur never missed

a varsity game (133) in six seasons and led

Garden City to a 121-12 record . . . With LeSueur, Garden City won three Nassau

Class B and three Long Island championship / Southeast Regional titles, and

made a state final appearance in 1999 . . . Was one of only 20 players in the

U.S. to participate in the prestigious WBCA High School All-American Game in

Hartford on April 7.

New York Sports