Varsity Hoops Live is broadcasting some top games, including Friday’s Garfield vs. Rainier Beach matchup.

Share story

Technology has finally caught up to Randy Novak.

An odd fact considering Novak is “just a guy” whose motivation has always been to use his passion for high-school sports as a platform to help kids become mindful global citizens. He created and produced Varsity Hoops Live and Varsity Football Live in 2002 to air local high-school games, but bulky equipment and lack of technology — even when partnered with larger media outlets — was a hassle.

Well, now that live streaming is easy to access and operate, hearing a high-school basketball game isn’t a treat reserved for state tournaments or dependent on traditional radio airwaves. Varsity Hoops Live is in its first season streaming on the internet (at and makes its return to KJR-AM 950 on Friday.

The online service will live stream the Rainier Beach boys and girls games at Garfield on Friday night. KJR will only air the boys game, which is slated to tip at 8:30 p.m. It’s one of four games the sports radio station will partner with Varsity Hoops Live to broadcast — depending on the NFL playoffs.

KJR will also air parts of the Metro League tournament in February.

“We’ve been waiting for the internet to catch-up; we were probably about 15 years ahead of our time, to be honest,” said Novak, who stopped producing local basketball tournaments to focus on his nonprofit organization, Shirts Across America, which helps rebuild Louisiana and Mississippi neighborhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Novak is only streaming Metro League games. Varsity Hoops Live’s next broadcast is Monday’s boys matchup between Eastside Catholic at Rainier Beach at 7:30 p.m. It’s a rescheduled game from earlier in the season.

The Rainier Beach boys team is the defending Class 3A state champion and ranked No. 4 in The Seattle Times poll. It will face a banged up Garfield team on Friday that’s ranked second in the poll and undefeated in league play.

The Vikings girls are No. 7 in the Times poll. The Bulldogs girls had a five-game winning streak snapped in a loss at West Seattle on Friday.

“We want to expand down the road to games around the state, but right now we want to make sure everything is going well with Metro,” Novak said. “And my hope is that we not only broadcast boys but we’re also highlighting girls. This isn’t just about the boys.”

Promising stats

Sammamish ended its 14-game losing streak in KingCo 2A/3A girls basketball league play in impressive fashion. Promise Taylor, a 6-foot-5 senior post, had a triple-double by halftime in a 58-48 win against Interlake on Jan. 4.

Taylor, who signed with Ole Miss, finished with 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 16 blocks. It’s her second triple-double of the season, recording 26 points, 15 rebounds and 18 blocks in a three-point win against Mountlake Terrace in December.

The Totems had a three-game win streak halted by a loss to Bellevue on Jan. 6. Sammamish plays at Lake Washington Monday.

Fundraiser started for Garfield coach

A GoFundMe account was started for Garfield assistant coach Leo White, who suffered a heart attack during the boys basketball team’s trip to the Les Schwab Invitational in Hillsboro, Ore. He underwent open heart surgery Jan. 1.

As of Saturday, $8,345 was raised toward the $15,000 goal to help cover medical expenses.

“Leo is the spirit and the heart and soul of our program; not just our program but the Garfield community,” Bulldogs boys basketball coach Ed Haskins said. “He’s doing better and thank God he made it through.”