A machine blasting pregame smoke. Little elbow room on “Pack the Crowd” night. Noise reaching college-game levels at times.
The atmosphere inside the Corona del Mar High gym was charged. Visiting Edison more than matched the buzz.
Kaden Headington finished with 33 points, and the Chargers topped the Sea Kings 59-50 in a Surf League boys’ basketball opener Friday.
Edison moved to 16-8 overall and ended CdM’s eight-game winning streak.
Headington, who’s earning looks from Menlo College and Dominican, erupted out the gate. The senior guard scored the first 10 points for the Chargers.
The last time he met the Sea Kings (15-6), the entire Edison offense scuffled in a 48-43 loss in the SoCal Elite Gary Raya Classic semifinals at Woodbridge High on Dec. 14.
“The last game, we weren’t moving around as much,” Headington said. “I didn’t have a great showing … I just wanted to come out here and prove to [CdM] that I was a lot better player than they saw last time.”
“I told him last time we played Corona that he didn’t play well, and he knows that,” Edison coach Rich Boyce said of Headington. “He was really focused and wanted to atone for the way he played.”
Headington drained four three-pointers, most of them were contested. He also had five rebounds.
Junior forward John Humphreys carried the load for the Sea Kings in the opening minutes. He tallied the first eight points for CdM, culminating in a one-hand slam.
Edison took a 19-11 first-quarter lead. Sea King senior guard Connor Schimmelpfennig almost beat the buzzer on a stepback three-pointer to draw within five.
Neither team could score in the first three minutes of the second quarter. Humphreys, a highly-coveted football player with offers from Stanford, Notre Dame and USC, broke the drought with a layup.
The Chargers then bolstered their lead to 30-19 at halftime behind deep threes from Headington, Connor Collins and Bradley Luna. The visitors had silenced a once-raucous crowd.
“Coach brought us in before the game,” Headington said. “All the lights in here, all the introduction stuff, none of that matters. He just told us to stay focused and stick with the game plan, and that’s what we did.”
The Sea Kings started imposing their will inside behind the 6-foot-5 Humphreys and 6-3 junior forward Ethan Garbers, who is also the starting quarterback with offers from Miami and Boise State. The duo combined for 11 points to cut the lead to 43-37 by the end of the third quarter.
“Once we got down, we tried to do things kind of selfishly rather than trust the offense,” said Sea Kings coach Ryan Schachter, whose team hosts Los Alamitos in league play on Wednesday. “It seemed the offense flowed a little better in the second half.”
A Humphreys steal and slam, followed by a Jack Stone three-pointer slashed the deficit to 45-42 in the fourth. Humphreys ended up with 21 points, all inside the paint.
Headington and Jack Horton pushed the margin back to seven with threes of their own. Aiden Garnett added 10 points.
Tempers flared in the final minutes. Luna was assessed a technical for shoving Sea Kings center Jack Garza.
Things should get intense when the Chargers return home Wednesday to face Newport Harbor (21-1, 1-0 in league).
The Chargers and Sailors shared first place in the Sunset League last season, and first place will be on the line when they meet for the first time this season.
Edison 59, Corona del Mar 50
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Edison 19 – 11 – 13 – 16 — 59
Corona del Mar 11 – 8 – 18 – 13 — 50
E – Headington 33, Garnett 10, Luna 6, Horton 5, Collins 3, Serven 2.
3-pt. goals – Headington 4, Luna 2, Collins 1.
Fouled out – Horton.
Technicals – Luna.
CdM – Humphreys 21, Hamilton 9, Garza 7, Stone 5, Garbers 4, Schimmelpfennig 4.
3-pt. goals – Hamilton 3, Stone 1, Garza 1.
Fouled out – None.