The 2016-2017 Knights basketball season was one of the most fluid in recently memory. The team started with a lot of solid athletes and potential, but the season is long and this year’s team saw more roster changes compared to other seasons. As a result, the team ended with a 10-12 overall record, but that only tells part of the story. By the end of the season, the Knights were much more competitive than their record represented, and that resulted in a great first round playoff win and some post-season honors for some of the players.
Reflecting on the season, Head Coach Dustin Sperling said “We dealt with probably the most moving pieces we ever have. We had a lot of kids in and out during the season and it was hard to build consistency. But different players stepped up in different games and that was fun to watch.” A lot of players were able to contribute this season, which paid dividends toward the end of the season. More players got good minutes in the middle of the season, which allowed different combinations of players to work together.
According to the coaching staff, how the team improved on fundamentals visibly improved throughout the season. According to Sperling, the team was always open to learning in practice, and this dedication allowed the Knights to beat a really solid Clarke Osceola team in the first round of the District playoffs.
Junior Ammari Johnson led the team in most offensive stats for the second year in a row. His 17.0 points per game was a slight improvement from last year’s number, but his name is now all over the Woodward Academy record book. He is now the career leader in five scoring categories. Armman Johnson and Jay’Quise Norton also got some post-season honors when they received honorable mention within the conference.
Ammari Johnson’s 2016-2017 basketball campaign was always going to be a race into the Woodward Academy record books. He led the team in scoring a year ago and looked to do the same this season as the only returning varsity starter from that year’s squad. With the season now over, Ammari’s legacy has been cemented as one of the best basketball players the Knights has ever produced. He currently owns school career records in total points, field goal attempts, field goal percentage, as well as 3-point attempts and 3-pointers made.
Basketball is not Ammari’s only sport. Earlier this year, he earned All-District football honors as a wide receiver, and has already transitioned to track & field. He was a state qualifier a year ago in the high jump, and in the second meet of this season, broke the school record with a 6’4” jump.