Barton finally found a way to put away King — it just took five championship-points and a decisive fifth-game overtime in the biggest match of the season.
The Bulldogs rallied in overtime and fought off a championship-point to beat the Tornado 23-25, 25-22, 25-13, 25-27, 17-15 in the ConfCarolinas Tournament finals on Thursday in Wilson, North Carolina.
With this victory, Barton clinched an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament and has now won two of the last three ConfCarolinas Tournament championships.
Opposite Angelos Mandilaris, the 2019 ConfCarolinas Player of the Year, led all players with 27 kills against King. In addition, his older brother and outside attacker Vasilis Mandilaris had 23 kills on a .333 attack percentage and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Barton out-hit King .266 to .248 and had three players finish with double-digit kills. Along with the Mandilaris brothers, freshman outside attacker Adrian Iglesias added 13 kills.
Iglesias also had a match-high five aces, including two aces in the fifth game. The Bulldogs finished the match with 11 aces — nine more than the Tornado.
Despite the loss, King out-hit Barton 18 to 7 in its attempt to win back-to-back ConfCarolinas Tournament titles.
All-conference middle attacker Jon Wheaton led all players with 10 blocks, while middle attacker Dalton Johnson contributed six blocks. Wheaton and Johnson were among the four King players with at least five blocks.
King rallied from large deficits multiple times in the championship match.
The Tornado trailed by five points midway through the first game before going on a 7-0 run en route to a comeback victory. In addition, King overcame a five-point deficit in the fifth game and survived multiple championship-points.
This was the second consecutive year that King and Barton reached the conference tournament finals. Both teams finished the regular season as the co-ConfCarolinas regular season championships and were the top two seeds for the tournament.