Boys basketball: Frederick into the Sweet 16

Warriors get first playoff win in eight years

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                Frederick boys basketball coach Jeff Conway may have the easiest coaching job in high-school basketball.

                “Our kids have a ton of confidence. I’ve been coaching a lot of them since third grade,” Conway said. “They’ve always been confident. They’ve always had a chip on their shoulder. They are a confident group. I stand back and try to stay out of their way and let them do what they do.”

                What the Warriors do is combine a running offense with some tough defense. Those things worked against Severance in the second round of the state 4A basketball tournament Feb. 26. FHS won the game easily 67-40.

                Jacoby Conway had 14 points for the Warriors. Harry Singh added 12. Severance’s top scorer was Ty Adam, who had 17 points. Parker Gazdik added eight.

                “We were hitting our shots, a lot of open layups, back cuts,” said Bryce Conover, who scored eight points. “We were running a lot. We’ve never had that many wide-open layups in a playoff game in our entire lives. We’ve been hitting 3s all season. That’s no surprise. They were playing us really tight, so we went back behind them and got layups.”

                “We had good ball movement tonight,” said the coach’s son, Jacoby Conway. “In the first half, we weren’t shooting very good. Then we started to find our rhythm, use each other.

                Singh said the team had confidence going into the game after beating the Silver Knights earlier in the season.

                “We have confidence in this game. We shot the ball well, And when we play defense well, we’re going to win a lot of games,” he said. The Warriors forced 20 Severance turnovers.

                “We knew that 21 (the 6-foot-8-inch Adam) is their whole team,” Singh said. “If you stop him, you win the game. We tried that, and it worked.”

                Alex Sturn said the way things are set up for his team makes things easy.

                “We don’t have to take a lot of tough shots,” said Sturn, who finished with a team-high 19 points. “the best thing was getting a playoff win. We haven’t won since 2013-2014. I’ve been here four years and haven’t won a playoff game. I’m glad we could bring a playoff win back to boys basketball. It feels really good to be a part of it.”

                Frederick led wire to wire, but the Silver Knights had one last chance to climb back into the game early in the fourth quarter. After a technical foul, Severance had two free throws plus the ball after the foul shots. Neither free throw was successful, and the Silver Knights turned the ball over immediately thereafter. Conover scored a basket, and Singh nailed a 3-pointer to push the led to 17 points.

                “It’s been a long time coming,” Jeff Conway said. “I told them we needed to keep pressuring them, just wear them down. Come the third and fourth quarter, they were worn down. Some of those baskets at the end were because they were so tired.”

                “It was awesome. Every bucket was so loud,” Conover said. “We need to be confident but not cocky. If you’re going to shoot a three with no confidence, there’s no point. We have to respect every opponent. Every opponent we play from now on is going to be a good team.”

                “We took a bad loss against Mead,” Jacoby Conway said. “We want to see them again. We will after we beat D’Evelyn.”

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