Sussex County Pope John rallied down the stretch to edge Vernon 41-37 in the opening game of the Sussex County Interscholastic League boys' basketball campaign on Friday in Sparta. With 80 seconds remaining on the game clock, the Lions forced back-to-back-to-back turnovers to pull out the victory against the Vikings who swept the regular season and post-season SCIL Festival titles last season. Doug Green posted a double-double as he led the Lions, netting a dozen points while hauling down 11 rebounds. Colin Healy chipped in with an 11-point effort. Vernon was led by Charles Drinkard who pumped a game-high 13 points through the iron. Vernon (0-1) 10 11 10 6 37 Pope John (1-0) 9 11 10 11 41 Vernon (9-3-10-37): Joe Tamburro 1-1-0-5; Kendrick Murphy 0-2-3-9; Ryan Anzelone 1-0-4-8; Jeremy Palmieri 2-0-0-4; Charles Drinkard 5-0-3-13 Pope John (13-1-12-41): Chris Mefford 1-0-1-3; Brad Paladini 1-0-0-2; Doug Greene 4-0-4-12; Colin Healy 2-1-4-11; Theo Lusardi 3-0-2-8; Eugene McGuire 2-0-1-5.