Local News

Barton Basketball Team Returns Home as Div. II Victors

Posted March 25, 2007

— This year's Cinderella story didn't come on the men's road to the Final Four. It's the tale of a tiny school from Wilson, and the star player's last-second shot that earned Barton College the men's Division II title.

The Barton Bulldogs flew in to Raleigh-Durham International Airport early Sunday evening, where the squad dubbed “the little team that could” got a big welcome home as the new Division II men's basketball champions.

“It's my senior year, it's my hometown, so I'm just elated with joy right now,” said Barton guard Anthony Atkinson.

Atkinson earned those feelings of jubilation. In the final seconds of the championship game, he saved the day for his team.

“I was at half court with about 2.3 seconds (left), so I figured, why not go for it?” Atkinson said.

“We weren't going to go down without a fight,” said Barton junior Brian Leggett. “It's been the story of our season, just coming from behind. It's probably one of the greatest comebacks in Barton history, in basketball history, period.”

It’s earned respect for a school of about 1,100 students.

“It feels good,” said student Antonia Wortham. “It feels real good that they're getting love coming from the small town of Wilson.”

“There are people from all over the country calling us and saying, ‘Where's Barton? What's Barton?’” said Barton College president Norval Kneten. “They're excited about us and interested in us.”

“There are good things that can happen in small places,” Atkinson said. “A lot of people look over small places like Wilson County.”


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Tackman792000 Mar 26, 2007

    Definitely a game for ESPN Classic! Congratulations to the Barton College Bulldogs! NCAA D-2 Champs!

  • George Costanza Mar 26, 2007

    Barton will be holding a clinic for any ACC school on how to win games in overtime. Topics included: How to score more than 1 basket
    Overtime Defense
    Playing above and beyond expectations
    and Winning the tough ones.

  • domonickj Mar 26, 2007

    Congratulations, Barton College! You make us proud to call you Champions!!! A well-deserved win...Enjoy it, Champs!

  • S-O-L Mar 26, 2007

    If any of the ACC teams had the heart Barton had they would win the NBA championship!

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Mar 26, 2007

    One of the BEST finishes in a basketball game I have ever seen! Great job! Talk about NEVER giving up!

  • LilMama12508 Mar 26, 2007

    WOO-HOO! Way to go Barton...Way to represent for Wide Awake Wilson~!

  • davidpmcknight Mar 26, 2007

    Way to go, Barton! Now we need a Barton College-Boston College hoops challenge--"home and home" with the first year in Wilson and the next year in Beantown. Let's put Barton in Conference USA with East Carolina or in the ACC with the Tobacco Road quartet!

    Next season we need bus tour package tours to Barton Bulldogs games from the Capital City. Sir Walter Raleigh and all his pals will probably be ready for some exciting new excursions by then.

    Congratulations to the entire college for a magical tour to victory lane, way up yonder in dear ol' New England! Barton's all heart, so let's hear a rousing hip-hip-hooray all the way to Bar Harbor!

    David McKnight

  • Malone1 Mar 26, 2007

    Awesome run for Barton College. I graduated from Barton as well as Greenfield School and have to say that the most amazing basketball I've ever seen has been when Anthony Atkinson is on the court. There were 45 seconds to go in the game and everyone that was watching with me were like " that's it, it's over" and I told them that #11 lives for this, i've seen him do it through out H.S. and college and he will find a way. Unbelievable.

  • asufans Mar 26, 2007

    Barton College in basketball
    Appalachian State in football
    Look out big boys!!!!!

  • methinks Mar 26, 2007

    Barton Alumni---WEARE PROUD OF OUR DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I recorded the game just in case I didn't make it home to watch. I did and I still have it on DVR and can watch it over and over. I love that game.