DYERSVILLE — A comfortable lead was spoiled at the end of the first half, so the Central DeWitt girls basketball team used its defense to build another advantage during Friday’s 2020 opener with Beckman Catholic.

A 14-6 run to start the second quarter gave the Sabers a 32-22 lead, but the Blazers responded by scoring nine of the final 12 points of the first half to get back within four at the half.

Central DeWitt’s defense took over from there, holding the Blazers to just one made shot and seven points in the third quarter, and 30 percent shooting in the second half to stay perfect with a 62-52 victory.

The Sabers opened the second-half scoring with a Lauren Cooper hoop inside and steadily rebuilt their advantage.

Three combined points from Allie Meadows and Madi McAvan made it 40-33, while a three-pointer by Taylor Veach followed by a Meadows drive pushed the margin to 11.

It was still an 11-point game (49-38) to start the fourth quarter.

Talbot Kinney, though, opened the stanza with a three-pointer and Veach scored the next six Sabers points before Kinney scored again to make it 60-43.

The two teams traded points early, evenly splitting the game’s first 10 points.

The Blazers broke the tie with a 6-3 push to briefly take the lead, but McAvan tied things at 16 with a three-pointer and Veach gave the Sabers the lead heading to the second quarter.

The Sabers began to extend their lead in the second quarter.

Four different Central DeWitt players — Natalie Butler, Kinney, Veach and Meadows — scored during an 8-4 push before Veach buried a three and Meadows completed a three-point play to make it 32-22.

The Blazers, who shot better than 54 percent from the floor during the first half, answered right back with five straight points to cut the lead in half and were within four (35-31) at the half.

Veach led the way for the Sabers with a double-double, scoring a game-high 25 points and adding 13 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.

Meadows added 16 points and Kinney seven. Veach, Meadows and Kinney all dished out four assists (Butler had two) with Veach also coming up with two steals.