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A weekly look at some of the Southland's top high school athletes:

January 13, 2006|DAN ARRITT;MARTIN HENDERSON;LAUREN PETERSON

BOYS' BASKETBALL

TAYLOR HARRISON

Sr., San Clemente

* Then: Earned a spot on varsity as a 6-foot-9 freshman and was typically the second or third player off the bench for the Tritons. His game improved considerably between his sophomore and junior seasons and, combined with his size, strength and agility, began drawing attention from college recruiters. He averaged 16 points and 9.8 rebounds last season and flashed his power by twice shattering backboards at Mission Viejo High.

* Now: The 6-10, 255-pound Harrison was named the nation's 58th-best prospect in his class and sixth among Southland players by USA Today. He signed with California in November and has been displaying a more all-around offensive game this season. He's averaging 16.5 points and 11.2 rebounds for the Tritons (14-4), helping them win eight of nine heading into this week. He scored a career-high 32 points Dec. 9 in a 69-59 loss to Long Beach Jordan and produced 29 points and career-high 24 rebounds a week later in a 68-52 victory over La Habra.

* Quote: "We used him exclusively in the low post his junior year, but now he can play anywhere on the court," Coach Shawn Mulligan said. "That's what Cal wants him to be able to do, use his mobility to step out and hit his shot."

--DAN ARRITT

*

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

KAVITA GOSS

Sr., Newbury Park

* Then: Made an immediate contribution as a freshman point guard, averaging 6.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists, but it was after playing in Oregon over the summer that she became an impact player toward the end of her sophomore season. Coupled with then-senior Brynn Cameron, Goss helped Newbury Park reach the Southern Section Division III-A finals. Her scoring jumped from 11.5 to 14.9 her junior season, when she also averaged 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.6 steals. "I learned a lot being away from home," she said. "And when I came back, I had better skills, I was smarter on the court and I kept on growing from there."

* Now: Often overlooked as a strong rebounder, the versatile 5-foot-9 point guard -- the team's only senior -- has averaged 18.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.4 steals. She is coming off a 41-point performance against Moorpark that broke by one point the school record held by Cameron, now a sophomore at USC. With a 3.97 grade-point average, Goss has signed with Loyola Marymount.

* Quote: "I don't go out trying to dominate the game," Goss said. "I'm a point guard, so my job is to control the game and distribute the ball. But the team definitely needs me to score."

--MARTIN HENDERSON

*

GIRLS' SOCCER

KATIE OAKES

Sr., Woodland Hills El Camino Real

* Then: The younger sister of U.S. women's national team pool player Jill Oakes, a defender who helped UCLA amass a school-record 18 shutouts and advance to the NCAA title match this season, Katie began making her own name as a forward during her freshman season on the varsity at El Camino Real. She played sweeper as a sophomore and junior, earning All-West Valley League honors both years, and was named the City Section's player of the year last season after scoring 14 goals and leading the Conquistadores to their fifth consecutive City championship.

* Now: Oakes, who has committed to California, has seven goals and four assists this season after moving to center midfielder. In her new role, she uses excellent vision and ball-handling skills and a team-first approach to control the middle and run the offense. She can also score when needed, as she showed by converting all three of her team's goals in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over host Chatsworth in a league opener Tuesday.

* Quote: "She will play wherever she needs to be, and that's just her attitude," Coach Shanna Sarris said. "Whatever she has to do, she will. There's no question."

--LAUREN PETERSON

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