English is not Sanne van Poelgeest’s first language. But basketball lingo is universal. And raising your hand with the game on the line means one thing:
“Give me the ball.”
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Van Poelgeest did exactly that, Julia Hande understood exactly what she meant, and their communication was not lost in translation . . . or even in transition.
After stealing a pass, Hande pushed the ball downcourt and passed to van Poelgeest, who hit the winning shot with 4.3 seconds remaining to give Islip a 43-41 Suffolk V girls basketball victory over Harborfields on Thursday.
After the game, Hande again assisted van Poelgeest, who joked that her English isn’t the greatest.
“I wanted the ball really bad,” said van Poelgeest, who is from the Netherlands and speaks Swedish. “I was so happy that it went in.”
With the score tied at 41 and no timeouts remaining for Islip, Hande rushed downcourt after her steal. “I knew they were going to force it to the girl I was guarding,’’ she said, “so I watched and picked it off.”
She then delivered a bounce pass into the paint to van Poelgeest, who hit a contested baby hook shot.
“I saw Sanne with her arm up and I knew she would do something for us,” said Hande, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds. “So I threw it to her.”
Van Poelgeest had 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Caleigh DeCaprio added 11 points and connected on all three of her three-point attempts.
Islip, playing without one of its top players, Meghan Oberg, erased a 14-point halftime deficit by switching to a 2-3 zone that forced Harborfields to take outside shots. DeCaprio gave Islip its first lead, hitting a corner three-pointer with 3:36 remaining for a 40-39 advantage.
Christiana de Borja had 13 points and Erin Tucker added 12 for Harborfields (5-2). But Islip held the defending county champions to 13 second-half points.
Islip (7-0) is in position to win its first league title since 1985. Part of the reason has been the addition of van Poelgeest, a transfer from Upper Room Academy. The 6-1 forward can score in the post, knock down the outside shot and find the open teammate.
She’s also very quiet. But she lets her game do the talking.
“I just really wanted to win,” she said . . . in perfect English.