SUFFERING Solent Stars crashed to their ninth straight defeat in the National Basketball League Conference at Fleming Park on Saturday night.

Yet for ten fleeting minutes player-coach Mark Scott believed his team had at last turned the corner on a so-far depressing season.

Pitted against a rampant Worthing Thunder side sitting second in the table, Stars fought back from 12-4 down to briefly lead Ian Chylinski's men 14-12 in the fifth minute and then matched their illustrious opponents virtually point for point to end the first quarter a mere 27-24 adrift.

But it took just 90 seconds to undo the good work as Worthing charged ten points ahead and, with bad old habits rearing their heads again, Solent found themselves with a massive 87-57 gap to close by the end of the third quarter.

"It's four months into the season and we are still doing the same things we did back in November," sighed Scott.

"When we play as a team as we did in the first quarter, we're fine, but for some reason we do the right thing and then change it which doesn't make sense."

With five more Saturday night home games coming up thick and fast - starting with next Saturday's visit of Manchester Magic (8pm) - Scott admits he has no magical potion to transform the season but said: "We've got to find the negative pieces and work on them, but the greatest strategies in the world cannot make up for lack of heart and discipline.

"Ideally we could do with more than one practice session because coming together on a Friday is not enough. I've told the players to get out this week and do some running. If they are fit themselves, at least it will build up confidence."

Encouragingly for Scott, his predecessor Alan Cunningham assisted with the coaching and may even be persuaded to play against Manchester. And how Stars could do with him!

Despite another solid contribution from Toby Tripalin, the man Scott describes as "our rock of Gibraltar," Stars were run ragged by their energetic visitors who were spearheaded by 32-point ex-Solent guard Paul Mundy-Castle.

Solent atoned for their mid-match sins with a vastly improved final quarter, in which Scott bagged a hat-trick of three-pointers, but it was too little too late for the ailing South Coast club.

Solent scorers: Toby Tripalin 21, Mark Scott 17, Chris Harper 15, Chris St Omer 14, Duane Laight 7, Alex Byrne 6, Chris Sheldrick 4, Dimitry La Croix 2.