Reeths-Puffer’s Kendall Smith

Posted On: 03/25/21 12:37 PM

The 2021 MHSAA State Playoffs are underway and teams across the state are one game away from the District Championships. There are several high-level matchups across the area featuring teams that could make deep runs. Below are my five picks for the best player matchups to watch for during tonight’s district semifinal games.

Reeths-Puffer (9-9) vs Muskegon (12-6)
Kendall Smith Kendall Smith 6'8" | SF Muskegon Reeths-Puffer | 2021 State MI , F, Reeths-Puffer 21" vs Ethan Hill, Muskegon 22"

Reeths-Puffer got its biggest win of the season a couple of weeks ago when it knocked off Muskegon 81-79 in double overtime. Kendall Smith Kendall Smith 6'8" | SF Muskegon Reeths-Puffer | 2021 State MI put up 22 points and 13 rebounds in that game, while Ethan Hill had a double-double of his own, putting up 18 points and 15 boards. Not often do we get a matchup featuring two bigs as good as these two are. Whoever has the better game will heavily dictate the outcome of tonight’s game. This one is without a doubt my pick for the best individual matchup to watch during tonight’s district semifinals.

Ottawa Hills (7-10) vs Caledonia (9-6)
Santanna Phillips Santanna Phillips 5'10" | PG Ottawa Hills | 2021 State MI , G, Ottawa Hills 21" vs Koby Vanderwoude Koby Vanderwoude 5'11" | PG Caledonia | 2021 State MI , G, Caledonia 21"

Ottawa Hills’ Santana Phillips and Kendall Smith Kendall Smith 6'8" | SF Muskegon Reeths-Puffer | 2021 State MI , F, Reeths-Puffer 21" vs Ethan Hill, Muskegon 22" Reeths-Puffer got its biggest win of the season a couple of weeks ago when it knocked off Muskegon 81-79 in double overtime. Kendall Smith Kendall Smith 6'8" | SF Muskegon Reeths-Puffer | 2021 State MI put up 22 points and 13 rebounds in that game, while Ethan Hill had a double-double of his own, putting up 18 points and 15 boards. Not often do we get a matchup featuring two bigs as good as these two are. Whoever has the better game will heavily dictate the outcome of tonight’s game. This one is without a doubt my pick for the best individual matchup to watch during tonight’s district semifinals. Ottawa Hills (7-10) vs Caledonia (9-6) Santanna Phillips Santanna Phillips 5'10" | PG Ottawa Hills | 2021 State MI , G, Ottawa Hills 21" vs Koby Vanderwoude Koby Vanderwoude 5'11" | PG Caledonia | 2021 State MI , G, Caledonia 21" Ottawa Hills’ Santana Phillips and Koby Vanderwoude Koby Vanderwoude 5'11" | PG Caledonia | 2021 State MI are two certified bucket getters. Each has the talent to score from the perimeter, in the midrange, and in the paint, off penetration. On Tuesday night, with the season on the line, Koby converted a contested layup with the clock winding down, extending Caledonia’s season. He’s shown he can be trusted in crunch-time situations, and will more than likely have to display that some poised demeanor once again when the time comes. Santana, who has slid under the radar due to Ottawa Hills’ less than perfect record, has a big-time opportunity tonight to show why he’s one of the area’s best scorers. Zeeland East (16-0) vs Zeeland West (9-7) Trip Riemersma Trip Riemersma 6'4" | SG Zeeland East | 2021 State MI , G, Zeeland East 21" vs Carson Gulker Carson Gulker 6'3" | SF Zeeland West | 2021 State MI , G, Zeeland West 21" The battle for Zeeland in a win-or-go-home game featuring an undefeated team whose closest win of the season came against said rival. What more could you ask for? Within that situation is one of the best three-level scorers in the area in Trip Reimersma going up against one of the best athletes and on-ball defenders in the area in Carson Gulker Carson Gulker 6'3" | SF Zeeland West | 2021 State MI . Get your popcorn ready because this one should be a doozy.  Northview (8-5) vs Forest Hills Central (11-4) Kyler Vanderjagt Kyler Vanderjagt 6'4" | SF Northview | 2022 State MI , G, Northview 22" vs Conner Milton, F, Forest Hills Central 21" Kyler Vanderjagt Kyler Vanderjagt 6'4" | SF Northview | 2022 State MI has gone from locally known commodity to an emerging national prospect in the past year. He has the size, quickness, and overall skill set to be a major Division 1 player when he graduates in 2022. On the other side is an under-the-radar wing/forward who seems to be the glue that holds Forest Hills Central together in Conner Milton. Conner gets after it on the defensive end, out-muscles guys for 50/50 balls, and can get the Rangers a bucket when they need it most. Northview and Forest Hills Central have legitimate post-season aspirations and will need big games from their playmakers to see those goals become reality. Hudsonville (12-6) vs West Ottawa (12-4) Davis Magsig, G, Hudsonville 21" vs Blake Bosma, G, West Ottawa 21" Several media types, including myself, didn’t expect Hudsonville to have as good of a season as they’ve had due to the amount of talent that graduated from their team a season ago. A big reason why they’ve found success this year is because of the play of Davis Magsig. He’s proven to be a reliable offensive threat and someone the Eagles can rely on in all facets of the game. West Ottawa, on the other hand, had lofty expectations because of the pieces they returned from last season. Blake Bosma is one of the key pieces for the Panthers, and his two-way play will need to be dialed in once again for West Ottawa to keep dancing.

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