The East Meadow Lady Jets basketball team is learning from the best female player that Long Island has to offer. No, seriously, that’s not an exaggeration.
With 3,167 points spanning a six-year playing career at Garden City High School from 1995 to 2001, Bethany LeSueur is Long Island’s all-time leading female scorer.
LeSueur’s high school career accomplishments include three Long Island championships, three trips to the state final four, and designations as a USA Today All-American as well as New York’s Miss Basketball for the 2000-2001 season. In short, she’s pretty good.
Approximately ten years after her high school career ended, LeSueur became the first athlete to have her jersey retired at Garden City High School. On Jan. 26, during halftime of a game, a banner donning her old number, 23, was raised to the rafters. No one at Garden City will ever wear the number again. “I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet,” said LeSueur. “Maybe if I go back to the gym and see it, the more I’ll realize that it’s staying up there forever.”
LeSueur, one of four children, grew up in a sporting household in Garden City. Her mother, Elizabeth, was a college swimmer. Her father, Paul, played professional soccer for the New York Cosmos.
But it wasn’t until her first experience in organized basketball, as a fourth grader, when she realized it was something that she was highly skilled at. “I knew right away, that this was something that I was passionate about,” she said.
She began her high school playing career before she was even a high school student. As a five-foot, seven-inch-tall seventh-grader, she was already starting and playing with girls who were four and five years her senior. But the age disparity, she said, was never a deterring factor. “Once I got on the basketball court it never really bothered me,” said LeSueur. “I was painfully shy, but on the court all that stuff just went away.”
In fact, the older players took LeSueur under their wing, she said, and treated her as if she was a little sister.