Matt Rachar of Burnaby helped his professional basketball club win a national championship title in Austria.
Rachar, a former B.C. high school firstteam all-star at Alpha Secondary School and a University of B.C. iron man, shot a perfect three-for-three in the final game to help spark the Xion Dukes Klosterneuburg to a 67-55 victory over the A Bundesliga regular season champions Allianz Swans Gmunden on May 24.
Rachar hit a pair of mid-range jump shots at the beginning of the second quarter that sent the Dukes on a 13-4 run and to a 36-28 lead at half time.
Gmunden, the Bundesliga champions in 2010 and three-time playoff finalist, rallied to within three points of the lead with five minutes left in the game.
But Klosterneuberg answered with a couple of three-balls and ran the clock out with successful shooting at the free throw line.
"Overall it was a tough, defensive, lowscoring game, which in general was more their style, but we managed to grind it out," said Rachar, who still holds the B.C. AAA high school record for most field goals in a five-game provincial tournament with 62 while with Alpha in 2004.
The Dukes won the playoff final series, defeating the Swans three games to one.
Rachar, a three-time academic AllCanadian, had a successful career at UBC, setting an all-time record in the Canada West conference for consecutive games played.
But the versatile 6-7 forward never won a Canadian Interuniversity Sports title while with the Thunderbirds, despite going into the national championships on two occasions as the Canada West champions in 2007 and '08.
"I am, of course, ecstatic about winning the championship. I have been playing basketball for a long time, and that was the first time the season ended on a high note," said Rachar. "Nothing will make up for the disappointment of losing the CIS championship in my senior year, but it certainly helps, especially because it was so unexpected this year."
Rachar's first two seasons in Klosterneuberg ended with early exits in the opening round of playoffs.
But this season the Dukes, runner-up finishers to Gmunden in the Group A standings, made it into the semifinals following a 3-2 series win over Group B winner Furstenfeld.
Klosterneuburg then defeated Kapfenberg, which matched the Dukes with an identical 219 record through the A league regular season, in a four-game series to move on to the final.