George Washington is thirsty. Nearly 23 years after winning its fifth state championship behind Mr. Big Shot Chauncey Billups in 1994, the Patriots are hoping to end their title drought. George Washington defeated ThunderRidge 61-56 in thrilling fashion Friday night at the Denver Coliseum to return to the state championship game.

The Patriots got off to a hot start in the first half. Despite Kaison Hammonds' 13 points for the Grizzlies, Jon'il Fugett and Shawn'Trell White each scored ten to help GW take a commanding ten point lead at halftime.

ThunderRidge came out of the locker room with a renewed energy. Steadily, they climbed back into the game. The Grizzlies got their biggest boost when George Washington senior Calvin Fugett fouled out, allowing them to catch their opponents in the fourth quarter. ThunderRidge took its first lead of the second half with just 4:44 remaining in the game, and from there it would be a race to see who would finish on top.

Tre Pierce led George Washington with 17 points and four rebounds. Jervay Green (12), White (14) and Jon'il Fugett (10) all finished in the double-digits. Their efforts late in the game would be enough to push their team ahead for good.

Hammonds was the bright spot for ThunderRidge with a game high 27 points.

George Washington will play the winner of the Rock Canyon versus Eaglecrest basketball game on Saturday night. Tip off is at 8:30 p.m.

Tune in to the Saturday morning Prep Rally for highlights from the big game.