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High School Male Athlete of the Week: Edison's Kaden Headington on noteworthy run

High School Male Athlete of the Week: Edison's Kaden Headington on noteworthy run
Senior point guard Kaden Headington has averaged 20 points, six rebounds and five assists over his past four games for the Chargers. (Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

A select few know about the writings of Kaden Headington.

He has no published works, but those closest to him know about his Christmas cards.

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“I don’t have a job, so I just write Christmas cards, and they’re pretty long,” Headington said. “My teachers, they’re the only other ones that read my stuff.”

As a prolific writer, it comes as no great surprise that English is Headington’s favorite subject, but the place that he feels most comfortable putting down his thoughts is in a journal.

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Headington recognizes that each day may not be as extraordinary as the next, but he enjoys looking back on the years to see what he might have forgotten.

As a junior, Headington transferred from Calvary Chapel to Edison in the hope that he could have a truly memorable high school basketball experience. The past couple of weeks have been unforgettable for the senior point guard.

On Jan. 4, when Marina’s Eric Hodgkins banked in a buzzer-beating three-pointer to upset Edison, it may have been a night that set Headington’s recent run in motion.

“I was actually right under the hoop, and I saw it in the air, and I was like, ‘That’s so off,’ ” Headington said of Hodgkins’ game-winning shot. “Then it hits the backboard, rims around and falls in. I was just dumbfounded. I was just sitting there like, ‘Did that really just happen?’

“It was crazy. I could not believe it. Everyone one in the crowd, you could see everyone’s reaction.”

Since that game, Headington has averaged 20 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Edison (17-8, 2-1 in the Surf League) went on the road following the loss to the Vikings, and Headington lit up the scoreboard in two wins. He paced the team with 26 points at Fountain Valley, and he said he set a career-high total with 33 points in the Chargers’ 59-50 win at Corona del Mar.

Chargers coach Rich Boyce said that Headington has developed into the player that he always envisioned the program was getting in his junior year, when he served as the team’s sixth man off the bench.

“The guy who would not just score for us, but rebound, play great defense, be a leader, be an all-around kind of guy,” Boyce explained. “We thought he would do that earlier. I think he was just caught up too much in the scoring aspect of it.

“Now, he’s kind of just doing everything. I think he was our leading rebounder [against CdM], also. He’s really turned the corner and become quite the all-around player for us.”

Boyce added that he may question shot selection sometimes, but he never questions the effort of Headington or anyone else on the team.

“The thing about this team, we’re all just super-hard workers,” Headington said. “The whole game, we’re going 110%. My best friends, Justin Strauss, Jack Horton and Aiden Garnett, we’re four seniors, and we’re all starting together, so the chemistry on the court is going really good right now.”

They are also in ASB together. When they are not in school, they enjoy playing backyard sports, including “water basketball,” which involves a basketball hoop hanging over the pool.

Headington acknowledged that there is a lot of goaltending in that sport. It is probably the only time that Headington will ever block Garnett, a CIF Southern Section Masters qualifying high jumper who has achieved a career-best mark of 6 feet, 6 inches.

Growing up, Heading and his three siblings were all told that they had to play at least one sport. His brothers, Kilian (21) and Kieran (20), gravitated to football. His sister, Chloe (15), plays softball.

The Headington family home driveway has played host to some contentious one-on-one battles.

“Me and my middle brother, we used to get into fights when we would play one-on-one basketball in the driveway,” Headington said. “He scratched off a freckle on my face one time.

“We went at it. One time, I gave him a bloody nose, just because we get into it. Competitiveness definitely runs in the family.”

Headington said that he was given the childhood nickname of “Angry Baby.” If the stories are true, it may have been well-earned, but he has learned how to channel his energy to make a positive impact on the court.

“It wasn’t until around 8 or 10 years old that I started to harness the anger,” Headington said. “I think the anger went along with the competitiveness and just my siblings egging me on and stuff.

“People tell me that I was an angry baby, but I guess I turned out OK.”

::

Kaden Headington

Born: Dec. 15, 2000

Hometown: Costa Mesa

Height: 5 feet 11

Weight: 160 pounds

Sport: Basketball

Year: Senior

Coach: Rich Boyce

Favorite food: Barbecue bacon cheeseburgers

Favorite movie: “Jerry Maguire”

Favorite athletic moment: Although the Chargers lost 70-62 in overtime at top-seeded Oak Park in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs last season, Headington broke Edison’s single-game record for three-pointers with eight.

Week in review: Headington averaged 29.5 points per game in leading Edison to road victories over Fountain Valley and Corona del Mar last week.

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