When you watch Winslow High School junior Heather Kervin play in the low post, it’s OK if you glance at your program to double check her height. Yes, Kervin is just 5-foot-6. Yes, she’s banging elbows with bigger players. Yes, she’s more than holding her own. She’s become one of the best forwards in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

“(Kervin’s) only 5-6, but I look at her as 6-foot. I just see her bigger than what she actually is. She has a big heart. We’re on the fence, she’ll do what it takes,” Winslow coach Lindsey Withee said.

This season, Kervin averages 15.7 points, 1.3 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game. She shoots 50 percent from 2-point range and 32 percent from three. For her regular season, Kervin was named KVAC Class B Co-Player of the Year with Bri Wajer of Lincoln Academy.

On Saturday, Kervin led the Black Raiders to a 51-44 win over Ellsworth in the quarterfinals of the Class B North tournament. No. 4 Winslow (16-3) takes on top seed Houlton (19-1) on Wednesday at 3:35 p.m. in the semifinals at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Kervin said her favorite part of the game is going up against bigger players. That comes from playing pick-up basketball against her two older brothers.

“I love it. That’s always been my favorite part of the game, the physicality of it,” Kervin said. “I grew up with two older brothers. I’m supposed to be strong.”

Kervin didn’t develop a serious interest in basketball until junior high. Prior to that, her passion was gymnastics.

“I always thought I was going to be a gymnast. I wanted to go to the Olympics. Then in sixth, seventh grade I got out of gymnastics and started putting all my focus on basketball. That’s when I started improving and loving the game,” Kervin said.

In the victory over Ellsworth, Kervin was at her best in the second half, as the Black Raiders held off the Eagles. Kervin scored 11 of her team-high 14 points in the second half, working hard inside to get off shots and get to the foul line, where she made 6 of 10 shots.

Defensively, Kervin had three steals in the second half against Ellsworth.

“We need a go-to basket, she can do that,” Withee said. “She’s maturing. She’s maturing quite a bit going down the stretch. It will be awesome to see her her senior year, but I’m not rushing that.”

Already a three-year starter and a captain this season, Kervin has gotten used to expectations that come with being in a leadership role. Kervin said the biggest growth in her game has been the mental side, with increased confidence, which helps the physical style she plays. Having the confidence to finish through contact, for example.

“I’ve felt pressure since my freshman year, starting, but I accept it now. I’m fine with it,” Kervin said.

“Just being a junior captain, she leads by example every day in practice. On the court, off the court,” Withee said. “She’s a really special player that we’re lucky to have in this program.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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