Gayle praises Thunder players as unbeaten run is extended

Jorge Ebanks in action for Worthing Thunder. Picture by Kyle Hemsley
Jorge Ebanks in action for Worthing Thunder. Picture by Kyle Hemsley

Worthing Thunder coach Daniel Gayle praised his role players following their 93-87 success at home to Bradford Dragons on Saturday.

The Yorkshire-based side led for the majority of the contest but Thunder held their nerve when it mattered, with a strong third and fourth quarter performance.

The evergreen Zaire Taylor paced things, before exploding for 36 points and 12 rebounds.

Usually Taylor, Jorge Ebanks and captain Brendan Okoronkwo get the bulk of the attention but Gayle, who steered Worthing to a sixth straight home win in all competitions against a stubborn Bradford unit, focused on the glue of the team.

He said: “For us to get victories we have to work as a team and communicate with each other. Everyone on here knows their role.

“Sure, the focus is on Zaire (Taylor), Jorge (Ebanks) and Brendan (Okoronkwo) but this performance showcased what Aiman (Rezk) is about, what James (Grinham) is about and even Luke (Attfield) and Naz (Abu-Ramadan) - who don’t get the court time that perhaps they want but are always here, showing up to practice, travelling and helping the guys, whilst improving their own game.”

Rezk recorded ten points, three rebounds and one block in Saturday’s win but he did more than what was shown on the stat sheet.

The talent contested every jump shot that Bradford attempted near him and was a menace inside and offensively.

Another player that has won over the loyal Thunder fan base is Josh Goddard, who came into the fold just last month. The 21-year-old posted his best stats since arriving with 12 points on a perfect six and six shooting night.

Gayle added: “Josh (Goddard) is proving his worth with us and is a talented player with an intelligent basketball IQ. This was his best game for the club and I feel that he will have many more of these to come.”

Thunder’s win over Bradford was a fourth in succession in the National League Division 1 and also made it a perfect six in terms of home victories.

Make no mistake, Bradford made Thunder work hard for it but Gayle was pleased to see his team come through and said: “This was definitely a tough test for us. Bradford are one of the most well-drilled sides in the league and we knew that we were in for a tough match up.

“First half we couldn’t take the lead and couldn’t break them down, they played outstanding basketball. But we stuck at it and finally got to play our brand of basketball, got the lead and we worked hard for the win.”

Thunder will attempt to make it five National League Division 1 wins in succession when they travel to Derby Trailblazers on Saturday.