BY MICHAEL LEWIS | CONTRIBUTOR
Phil Reed was the type of guy who would give someone the shirt off his back.
So it was appropriate that a coaching colleague honored him with a shirt on Saturday, February 6.
Before the Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball team took on Southold in its East End rival’s gym, Indians Coach Jay Card Jr. had a special shirt created for the late First Settlers coach.
It included a photo of Reed with the words: “In Memory Of A Great Coach”.
The Indians wore the shirts during warm ups. Coach Card placed a shirt on the back of an empty chair in memory of Coach Reed after the First Settlers interim coach Jeff Ellis put a red rose there.
“I thought it would be a nice tribute … to demonstrate to our players how you pay respect for a good man and coach,” Coach Card said after his team recorded a 62-48 victory in a Suffolk County League VIII game.
Southold honored Coach Reed, the beloved basketball coach who passed away on January 26, in a poignant and emotional pregame ceremony. He was 59.
Coach Card had enough shirts for every Southold player and for Coach Reed’s mother, Laddie, and brother, Elliot, who attended the game on Senior Day.
“They didn’t call or plan anything with us,” Coach Ellis said. “They just showed up and they had that and it was really, really awesome.”
Prior to the game, a moment of silence was held. Each Southold player walked across the court and gave Coach Reed’s mother and brother a rose and a framed Southold basketball jersey signed by every player and coach.
It was a strong victory for the Blue and Gray, playing solidly at both ends of the court. They will play Bridgehampton for the Suffolk County Class D crown at Suffolk County Community College in Selden on Saturday.
After the tip off the Indians were not generous to their opponents. They rolled to a 16-5 first-quarter advantage behind Billy Boeklen (24 points, 6 treys, eight assists and four rebounds) and Tristan Wissemann (17 points, six assists and six rebounds). It certainly wasn’t an easy game for Southold, which had endured an emotional ringer the last two weeks.
“They played with a lot of heart today on a heavy day for them and I am very proud of them, the Southold kids,” Card said.