TRENTON, N.J. -- The task is now becoming confidence conservation.
Another game. Another loss. What else is new?
This one, a 93-82 setback to Trenton in front of 977 fans at the Sovereign Bank Arena marks the 21st straight for the BayRunners. As if there was any doubt, it also mathematically eliminates Baltimore from the International Basketball League playoffs, which begin May 5.
The BayRunners (13-44) played well for a half, holding a precarious one-point lead at the break. But then, Baltimore stepped foot in a damning cycle, where a few mishaps would beget more slip-ups.
"We'll have turnovers and ill-advised shots come in a sequence," said BayRunners coach Terry Truax. "Then we find ourselves catching up. The team has done this so many times, it's almost like we expect it.
"We don't expect something good to happen. They say winning is a habit; hopefully losing hasn't become one."
To be fair, it wasn't just what the BayRunners didn't do, but also what the Shooting Stars (27-30) did. Improving on a 38.2 percent shooting clip in the first half, Trenton connected on 71 percent in the second half.
The ailment may be deeper than merely confidence, however.
"Everyone is not on the same page -- still," said BayRunners point man Shawnta Rogers (seven assists). "Some people want to play."
Rogers would not specify who, but indicated that a "few" players may not be performing.
"They got it easy," he added. "It's easy for them to come out and not have to perform."
The Stars' Ray Tutt (21 points) and Ryan Lorthridge (20) led the winners, while guard LaMarr Greer fueled the BayRunners with 21. Greer (9-for-17 shooting) made good on all five attempts from the field in the first half.
After withstanding a Shooting Stars run late in the first half to maintain the halftime lead, it appeared as if the BayRunners were on the verge of their third road win of the year. After all, Baltimore was 8-8 this season when leading at the half.
The lead would vanish, however. And quickly.
The Stars' Alvin Young hooked up with Lorthridge on a third-quarter alley-oop to swell the lead to nine, 62-53. The BayRunners wouldn't challenge again.
A season with such a sour second half begs the question: Will the losing ever end?
"You can't blame anyone for wondering," said Greer. "But I know it's going to end. I'm a positive person. I feel we're going to win every game."