The house was in Whiting. The basement was in another world. One of imagination and joy and sweet memories.
Lake Central senior pitcher Bridget Boyle spent hours in that lower room with her cousin, Brenna Boyle, Andrean's sophomore shortstop.
"We would play house for hours," Bridget said. "Those were great times. Those are the memories I'll never forget."
When brothers and cousins crashed their party, the tone changed. Dramatically. The sweetness turned into extreme competitive fire.
"When we played 'Red Light-Green Light' I was the least relaxed," Bridget said. "I hated to lose. When we played Whiffle Ball at my Grandma's we were all very competitive. But I wanted to win no matter what."
Today, the 28th annual IHSAA state tournament begins. Both Boyles are on teams with a great shot to make a run to the state championships June 9 at Indianapolis Ben Davis.
Last year Brenna's 59ers played in the Class 3A state final, losing 8-0 to Indianapolis Roncalli. Last year Bridget's Indians played in the Class 4A semistate championship game, losing 2-0 to eventual champion Carmel.
"I wanted Bridget to win last year so bad," Brenna said. "We used to pitch at family picnics. She would show me what she was learning because she pitched before I did. I'm so proud of her. I hope we both can get to state this year."
Sports are big in the family. Their grandfather played on Whiting's 1948 mythical state championship football team.
Bill Boyle, Brenna's father, played on Whiting's conference winning boys basketball team in 1980.
Tim Boyle, Bridget's father, was a member of Whiting's 1981 boys hoops team that set history by getting to the single-class regional championship game.
Both families moved to St. John when the girls were young, but the heart of the family, 80-year-old grandmother Virginia Boyle, still lives in Whiting.
Last weekend Bridget and Brenna performed a family tradition when the two do their silly song and dance for their Grams. They sang, "Happy," clap-clap clap, "Birthday," clap-clap clap, "Grandma" clap-clap clap."
"And then I do a little dance," Brenna said.
"Oh my," Bridget said when the subject came up. "We did that when we were younger, kind of an inside joke. We've been so close since we were younger that people thought we were completely ridiculous."
Bridget signed with University of Illinois-Chicago this year and will pitched for the Flames.
"I am so proud of her," Brenna said. "She kept all of that pretty secret."
The two text each other before big games, are call and encourage each other. The two are hoping they can both get to 'Nap Town together.
Then maybe the final question could be answered: Who would win if Andrean and Lake Central actually played a game?
"We were dying to play each other; that would be so cool," Brenna said.
Andrean coach Brooke Baker-Runyon is an L.C. grad and is Bridget's pitching coach. Bridget also wonders who would win.
"We've talked about it a lot," she said. "They have a lot of talent. We have a lot of talent. Neither of us have said, 'My team would win,' but it would answer a lot of questions from fans around the region."
If both teams can finish the run and get to state, Bridget said she and her cousin would probably talk on the phone for an hour and a half the night before the game.
That is the goal.
"That would be awesome," Brenna said. "We're pulling for each other."