Clichés about sports being scientific in nature exist in large quantities among those who care enough to treat it as such.
Take basketball, for example. A winning team must be able to fit the given variables of individual talent and form a cohesive unit that is simultaneously efficient on the floor and unpredictable to opponents. Of course, basketball can be simplified, but don’t tell that to a coach trying to win a championship.
Katelyn Lesse spent four years helping the find that elusive balance between simplifying a sometimes complicated game and keeping opposing teams off balance. But as she finds her Braves career in the rearview mirror, Lesse is moving on to something far more complicated than throwing a spherical ball into a slightly larger cylinder.
This fall, Lesse will enter her freshman year at Princeton University, majoring in chemical engineering. Because she doesn’t have any plans to play basketball in college, Lesse’s court memories will be dominated by her four years in red and white.
Those memorable moments came quickly once Lesse got off the bench for good as a sophomore. That season, Syosset won its first county championship in program history.
“I’ll always remember standing in the middle of the C.W. Post court, ready to take the jump,” Lesse said of the championship game played in Brookville.
As a four-year starter, Lesse has many more memories from her time on the gym floor, including some life lessons from coach Doug Schumacher.
“I learned a lot from him,” Lesse said. “Mostly, I learned how to keep my composure and how to handle situations and people that I don’t agree with better.”
That composure helped Lesse become one of the leaders on the 2010-2011 team. She led the Braves with 16 points in a in the finals of the Syosset Invitational Tournament. During a three-game winning streak in early January, Lesse averaged 10 points per game.
With three of the Braves starting five gone off to college, next year’s concoction should look a lot different. Regardless, Lesse has high hopes for her former teammates.
“I think they’ll do well next year because [Lauren] Maturo is awesome,” Lesse said. “They also have players like Cal Abbate and Briana O’Shaughnessy who have a lot of potential. They have a chance to show it now that people my age have left.”
Although Lesse was a multi-sport athlete at , playing lacrosse, running cross country, and throwing shot put during winter track and field, basketball will always be her favorite sport.
“It’s the most fast paced and exciting,” Lesse said. “I played with those girls my whole life and I always loved it.”