Friday’s game between O’Neill and Grand Island Central Catholic proved to be a contest of two teams with completely different seasons in 2016, yet battling with a lot of unknowns as they entered this year’s campaign.

In the end, the hosts were able to keep one of the B-4 district championship plaques at home. But they'll have to share it.

O’Neill wasn’t looking for a hero, but that didn’t stop Justin Appleby from playing the role. The 6-foot-1 sophomore scored seven points in the final minute as the Eagles overcame a 50-41 fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Pierce 56-54 in the Class C1-4 district final.

O'Neill earned its first berth in the Mid-State Conference tournament final at the free-throw line, while Pierce earned its first appearance in the final since 2012 with defense.