Whoever has watched a basketball game and said the words “free throws never matter” has not watched enough basketball.

One may think the art of the free throw is simple because the player doesn’t have anyone guarding them while they take the shot.

Yet this simple skill can easily be tarnished and wasted, and sometimes the fate of a game may hang in the balance due to free throws.

Case in point? Tuesday’s men basketball game vs. Mount Vernon. Final Score? 66-61. Number of free throws shot and made by the Maple Leafs? 16-of-23. Now, anyone with math skills can realize that even if we missed six of those free throws, we would have lost the game and would be continuing on a losing streak.

In all honesty, most basketball players have trouble with free throws. Free throws, in my mind, are 50 percent shooting skills and 50 percent concentration. Basketball players at Goshen College get lucky because most of the time when they are making free throws, it is dead silent in Gunden Gymnasium. However, if we were at a NCAA D1 school and we were the opposing team, the whole gym would be shaking like an earthquake with enough noise to wake the dead.

It kind of makes you wonder sometimes how basketball players can do it with that much noise and pressure on them.

So next time you hear someone say free throws don’t matter, feel free to educate them on the dying art of the free throw.