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The Perfectionist / Nassau Player of the Year LeSueur strives to be best on, off court

Want to know how to rattle Bethany LeSueur? Forget about double- or

triple-teaming her, and scratch the box-and-ones. The solution is much simpler.

Just approach the Garden City junior and tell her you changed something in her

bedroom.

It doesn't matter what you moved or where you put it. The mere fact that

something, anything, is no longer in its place will irk LeSueur until she

personally puts it back where it belongs.

"That bothers me so much," said LeSueur, a 5-10 point guard on the girls

basketball team. "Everything has to be the same way as I left it. It's just the

way it is."

Take a peek at LeSueur's locker and you will witness the neatness

firsthand. The top portion is for textbooks, which LeSueur stacks in size

order. The bottom part is for her notebooks, which are lined from left to right

in the order of her daily schedule. Oh, yeah, the notebooks are

color-coordinated by class.

"It's a bit messy now," LeSueur said, shaking her head. The "mess" was one

piece of paper on top of the binders.

That perfectionist's attitude and relentless work ethic have helped make

LeSueur the best girls basketball player on Long Island. She first opened

people's eyes as a seventh-grader, and four years later she's still impressing

the same people who see her play every day. "She's so good because she strives

for perfection," coach John Dell'Olio said. "When we run offensive sets in

practice, she can never leave the court on a missed shot. We run it until she

hits it."

Misses were not overly common this season as LeSueur averaged 30.9 points,

11.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 6.1 steals in leading Garden City to a 19-2

record. It's no surprise that for the second straight year, LeSueur won the

Charles H. Clark Award as Nassau's top player.

LeSueur enjoys talking about the game of basketball and her approach toward

it. But when the subject turns to the many accolades she has received or the

attention she draws from colleges, LeSueur admits she becomes shy. It's as if

she'd rather talk about how she passed her road test on the first try.

LeSueur said she'd rather let her game speak for itself than try to

convince people with meaningless words. "That's what motivates me," she said.

"Every time out there I need to prove myself to everybody."

LeSueur proved she was legit early and received her first college letter in

the seventh grade. She totaled approximately 50 letters before high school and

now receives about 50 a week.

The craziest one came from a school she'd never heard of.

"Eastern-something," LeSueur said. "The letter said, 'Hi, I'm the coach. These

are my favorite songs.' And that was it." Other schools have become more

creative. Some sent birthday cards when LeSueur turned 17 in January; others

sent Christmas cards.

Yet the attention doesn't seem to faze her. "She just takes it all in

stride," said senior Alexis Leondis, one of LeSueur's close friends. "These

things bounce right off of her."

When people walk by LeSueur in the school hallway, yelling, "Bethany," she

smiles and waves. Certainly more people know her than are known by her.

That's what happens when you're 111 points shy of Nicole Kaczmarski's Long

Island scoring record of 2,583 points with one season left. People know your

name.

"People always come up to her," said junior Bill Breuer, LeSueur's

boyfriend for more than a year. "She doesn't like to talk about it. She's very

humble."

LeSueur said she doesn't keep track of her point total, which is hard to

believe, given that she is such a meticulous worker. "Basketball gives me an

opportunity to let go a bit," said LeSueur, who believes she has yet to play

her best on the high school level. "I don't have to be so neat and straight."

That's not to say LeSueur forgets about the game once she steps off the

court. One botched play overshadows a 30-point performance in her mind.

Just like in math, in which LeSueur, who has a 96 average, received her

first "B" ever last quarter. The look on her face lets you know it hurt. "I'm

getting an 'A' this quarter," she said confidently. You believe her.

In art class the teacher returned the students' sketch books. LeSueur took

a quick look at the grade, then sharply turned it over. Surely, it couldn't be

good. "B-plus," she said. Does this disturb her? LeSueur thought for a second,

then replied, "No, but if it was the end-of-the-quarter grade . . . "

She didn't need to finish her statement to get her point across.

It has been two months since Garden City was upset by Island Trees in the

Nassau Class B semifinals, and LeSueur said she is starting to put it behind

her. It was another missed opportunity to obtain that elusive state title, the

only thing absent from her impressive resume.

Suddenly LeSueur has only one season left to win it. Do you think that

bothers her?

BETHANY LeSUEUR FILE

School: Garden City

Grade: Junior

Height: 5-10

Position: Guard

BY THE NUMBERS

Year Avg. Ast. Reb. Stl.

1999-2000 30.9 6.1 11.1 6.1

1998-99 29.3 6.0 10.5 6.0

1997-98 23.7 5.0 8.3 5.0

1996-97 16.4 3.5 4.9 4.1

1995-96 13.2 2.3 3.8 2.9 Totals 22.7 4.0 7.5 4.4

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Garden City is 95-7 when LeSueur starts and 101-8 in games in which she has

played (LeSueur didn't start until the eighth game of the 1995-96

season)...LeSueur, the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year, has 2,472

career points, which places her first in Nassau, second on Long Island and 12th

in the state...LeSueur is only 111 points behind Nicole Kaczmarski's Long

Island scoring record...The state scoring record (3,548 points by Caryn Schoff

of Section II's St. Johnsville) is out of reach, but

second place is a possibility. LeSueur, who scored 649 points this past season,

needs 655 for second. LeSueur is the only active player among the state's top

56 scorers listed.

New York Sports