The greatest  scorer in the history of Long Island high school basketball is now a business teacher at East Meadow High School, and a coach and the girls director of Rising Stars, an AAU program. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Howard Simmons; Photo Credit: Bethany LeSueur

Bethany LeSueur is the greatest  scorer in the history of Long Island high school basketball — male or female. She has been for more than 20 years.

LeSueur scored 3,167 points for Garden City High School in six varsity seasons before graduating in 2001. A  Bethany LeSueur banner and her retired uniform number hang in the Garden City gymnasium.

And when she visits her high school alma mater, there are young children — her own children — who want to have their photo taken under that retired number.

“I don’t know if they really know what it means, but they know Mommy has a banner in the gym,” said LeSueur, who still lives in Garden City and is heavily involved in the Long Island basketball community. “I never really got caught up in accolades, but as a mom and they want to take a photo, I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s so cute.’ ’’

But it wasn’t so cute all those years ago for the players on the opposing side of those more than 3,000 points.

LeSueur was about 5-7 as a seventh-grader (she grew to 5-10) and led the team in scoring from her opening game. She was a part of three Long Island championship teams and is the only female to be named to Newsday's all-Long Island basketball team five times (1997-2001). LeSueur, Nassau County's top player three times, was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year for New York (2000-01) and was Miss New York Basketball (2001) in addition to being named All-American by Street & Smith and USA Today.

LeSueur, who said she averaged more than 30 points per game during her junior and senior seasons, averaged 23.8 points per game in her six-year varsity career. Garden City went 121-12 in her six seasons.

She played limited minutes at the University of Virginia as a freshman before transferring to Georgetown. LeSueur, a guard, was a three-year starter and two-time captain at Georgetown and averaged 10.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game with the Hoyas. She averaged 11.9 points per game as a senior.

In high school, LeSueur was a difficult player to guard because of her combination of size and athleticism and ability to play any position on the floor. She also was a standout soccer and lacrosse player — she was named first- team All-State and  All-County twice in soccer —  and those sports helped develop a quickness that translated on the hardwood. She seemed to be able to get to the basket with ease, had a pull-up jumper to complement that skill and got plenty of points on putbacks off offensive rebounds.

Bethany LeSueur is all smiles as she holds flowers after...

Bethany LeSueur is all smiles as she holds flowers after breaking the Long Island scoring record in January 2001.

Credit: Newsday/Paul J. Bereswill

LeSueur is one of only two high school players from Long Island to score more than 3,000 points. Zaire Baines, who graduated from the Portledge School in 2022, is Long Island's all-time leading boys scorer with 3,148 points, 19 behind her.

“At the time, I obviously thought it was an accomplishment and I was proud of it,” she said. “But I think now seeing how long it’s stood and looking back at the sheer math and numbers of it and coaching players who I think are really good and they are 1,000-point scorers in their career, it really puts it into perspective for how much that actually was.”

After college, LeSueur was undrafted by the WNBA. After seeing and hearing the stories of some of her teammates who played overseas, she decided she didn’t want to explore that route. She got her master’s degree in secondary education and business at Hofstra and became certified to teach.

“I really felt at that point in my life that basketball had taken me as far as I wanted to go with it,” LeSueur said. “I was kind of ready to start the next chapter of my life.”

LeSueur, a business teacher at East Meadow High School, is a coach and the girls director of Rising Stars, an AAU program. She briefly served as the East Meadow varsity girls basketball coach but decided to stop after having children.

LeSueur, 40, said she always saw herself teaching. Both of her parents were teachers and athletes. Her dad, Paul, played professional soccer with the New York Cosmos and her mom, Elizabeth, was a college swimmer. Paul died in 2019.

LeSueur and her twin brother, Peter, are the youngest of four siblings. The family had two boys and two girls, and LeSueur said her parents dedicated just as much time to training their daughters as their sons. All four siblings played Division I sports in college.

“When I look back, I always thank [my dad] for a time when he had two boys and two girls and he put just as much time and effort into his daughters’ sports careers as he did his sons,” LeSueur said. “My dad always spent time with all of his kids . . . I think having a twin brother helped, but having parents who put as much time in their daughters’ sports careers as their sons was really something special.”

LeSueur and her husband, Tom Hughes, have three daughters (Elizabeth, 8; Erin, 6, and Emily, 4) and a son (Tommy,10). LeSueur is excited to see her girls get older and would love to coach them if they go into sports. Although it seems quite likely that they’ll become serious athletes, LeSueur said she and Hughes aren’t pushing anything on their children.

“As a parent, you have all these expectations for your kids, and especially if you’re an athlete,” LeSueur said. “And I think it’s humbling to watch your kids and let it come to them because each one of them is different and they have different interests.”

Basketball also helped LeSueur create a family. She and Hughes were first introduced to each other after college through youth sports training. Now they live a similar lifestyle to her parents with teaching, training and raising children.

“It was kind of fitting, I guess,” Hughes, who is director of operations for Rising Stars, said with a laugh. “Fitting that the game that she put so much into and she loved and gave her so much back brought us together.”

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