Unselfish Conway leads Warde playoff push

Senior scores 1,000th point; Mustangs in tournament race

Humble. That is a word that has been used to describe Fairfield Warde’s Sean Conway.

Conway does it all for the Mustangs boys’ basketball team. The 6-3 senior guard has led Warde to an 11-7 record.

“I have a lot of fun playing basketball. It’s been a great year so far,” said Conway.

With two games left in the regular season — Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Brien McMahon in Norwalk and Wednesday at 7 at defending FCIAC champion Ridgefield — Warde is in a logjam of teams vying for the final playoff spots. The Mustangs are one of three teams with a 10-4 conference mark, and another three are at 9-5. Only three teams are better than 10-4 in the conference, so the five teams to join those three the final eight will come from those six teams. (Click here to check the FCIAC standings)

Conway is currently averaging 32 points per game. Even when he’s not scoring, he’s making his team better. He makes the extra pass, rebounds on both ends of the court, and is able to defend multiple positions.

“We’ve got a lot of great players on this team so he makes their life easier when the focus of the defense is on him,” said Warde head coach Ryan Swaller. “He’s able to find the open guys and trust his teammates.”

Conway surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career on Feb. 12 in a 75-58 victory at home against Greenwich.

“It means a lot (scoring 1,000 points),” said Conway. “If you told me two years ago that I would score 1,000, points I would never believe you. I never really thought much about it until this season, and I realized I was pretty close.”

Conway contributes in a big way for the Mustangs as he is averaging a double-double. In addition to his 32 points per game, he is averaging 14 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.

Against Staples on Jan. 8, Conway accomplished a rare quadruple-double with 29 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 steals. In an 80-73 win against crosstown rival Ludlowe on Feb 14, Conway had 42 points, including shooting 15-18 from the foul line.

“He’s got a lot of options to score, whether it’s getting to the rim or hitting off the bounce. He’s the leading rebounder most nights, so he controls both the defensive and offensive glass. He also makes the extra pass,” said Swaller.  

Conway’s teammates say he’s not only a great player, but a great person.

“He’s very humble,” said senior Dan Fitzpatrick  “Even though he has all these terrific accomplishments, he’s super unselfish. Both on and off the court, he puts others first.”

As Swaller referenced, Conway is not just one-dimensional on the offensive side of the ball. He is able to shoot the three-pointer with the best of them. He is also savvy enough to finish at the rim, and has a lights-out mid-range shot.

“He’s just so skilled that teams have no choice but to respect him. They either have to put their best defender on him or double- or triple-team him,” said Fitzpatrick. “In turn, it makes it easier for everyone else on the court. It gives us open shots or takes the pressure off of us.”

He may be great at scoring, but in Fitzpatrick’s opinion, that’s not the best thing about playing with Conway. It’s his ability to pass the ball.

“If you make a good cut to the hoop off the ball, or if you are feeling it and have made several shots in a row, he always finds a way to get you the ball,” said Fitzpatrick.

Swaller says that the best part of being Conway’s coach is his desire to be coached.

“You ask him to do something and it’s just, ‘Yes coach,’ or it’s, ‘Coach what do you need?,’” said Swaller. “He’s such a humble kid. He’s in here to get better at his craft and get better for the team. There’s no ego.”

In a 76-69 loss to Trumbull Feb. 9, Conway had 44 points, his season-high to date. He came just short of a school record 46 points in a game.

“He was two points from tying the school record, but he couldn’t care less because we lost the game,” said Fitzpatrick.

On the defensive end, Conway is able to lock up and get in the passing lane to get steals. That allows the Mustangs to get out in transition offensively and get some easy scoring opportunities. As the team, Warde is averaging 71 points per game (through the Ludlowe game).

“With his size and his growing athleticism on the defensive end, he can get up and block shots and help guys out,” said Fitzpatrick.

Conway has a rigid routine to continue to get better. He says he plays basketball either before or after practice and lifts three days a week.

“His work ethic is what makes him a great player,” said Swaller. “He understands the process of being a good player means you have to put the time into it. He’s constantly finding gyms, finding court time, finding new drills to work on, and finding weaknesses to get better at.”

Practicing with Conway, according to Fitzpatrick, is serious.

“It’s intense. He doesn’t take anything lightly. He tries to get better every single day,” said Fitzpatrick. “He’s always working on new things to make himself a better player. Practicing with Sean only makes you better yourself.”

When he’s not in the gym, Conway can be found hanging with his friends and his older brother, JJ, or playing or watching tennis.

Conway attributed his success to his dad, Jay, who he said has always been there for him.

“He’s sacrificed so much throughout his life just to help me not only become a better basketball player but a better person,” said Conway. “I couldn’t have gotten to this point in my young career without my dad.”

Conway is not just a hard-worker on the court, but in all parts of his life.

“Everything he puts time and effort into. Whether it’s school, basketball, family or friendships,” said Swaller. “He understands what it takes. He does a little talking and a lot of actions.”  

Conway, who will decide after the season on his future for next year, is looking forward to a big finish to the season for the Mustangs.

“I’m looking forward to making a big run in FCIAC’s and states,” said Conway. “I’m trying to hopefully accomplish something that has never been done here before (winning a championship).”

Sean Conway of Fairfield Warde (10) drives to the basket in the Mustangs' 80-73 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe Feb. 14. Conway recently scored his 1,000th career point and has the Mustangs in the thick of the playoff race late in the FCIAC season. — Art Cockerham Photo

Sean Conway of Fairfield Warde (10) drives to the basket in the Mustangs’ 80-73 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe Feb. 14. Conway recently scored his 1,000th career point and has the Mustangs in the thick of the playoff race late in the FCIAC season. — Art Cockerham Photo

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