CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Parkersburg High School junior guard Brooke Litton stepped forward to challenge an overwhelmed Riverside opponent late in a 2000 game at the Big Reds' Memorial Fieldhouse.
Litton stole the ball and raced the length of the court for an uncontested layup, giving her team its 99th and 100th points of the night in a game that had been a blowout by the end of the first quarter.
I was there that night and so was Wilbur Jenkins, who was sitting on the bench as the Warriors' coach in their inaugural season.
I wasn't covering the game, so I didn't speak to Jenkins, who passed away Saturday.
In fact, it wasn't until last year that it dawned on me we were both in attendance that night.
We were standing in the wings of the Charleston Civic Center before a State Tournament game, and he had mentioned his coaching past to me when the connection was made. I asked him about that game and Litton's play and in classic Jenkins fashion he let his face go blank.
"Thanks. Thanks a lot. I'm recovering from a stroke and you wanna go kicking me while I'm down. Real nice," he said.
The big man then immediately broke out into a laugh as large as his 6-foot-4 frame could bear.
As his health failed him in his late 40s, Jenkins remained an often-unrecognized pillar in the sports community not just of the Charleston area, but of the state thanks to his interactions with players and teams from across West Virginia at the boys and girls state tournaments. He did so with an uncommon friendliness, speaking with those players, coaches and media members alike as if he'd known them all for decades.
That's a rare trait in a person: the ability to make a stranger comfortable in a high-pressure situation. Few, if any, people I've ever met have done it better.
It is commonplace for a 16-or-17-year old kid who just finished playing what was often the biggest game of his or her life at the State Tournament to be more than nervous upon being thrust into the interview room at the Civic Center.
There, they are seated at a dais and faced with bright lights from television cameras and looking down on unfamiliar reporters asking questions that - in at least half the cases because for every winner there's a loser - they don't want to answer.
It was almost as common for Jenkins to say something to one or all of those players that elicited a laugh, immediately diffusing the tension.
Former West Virginia Conference associate commissioner Will Prewitt, now the commissioner of the Great American Conference, said Sunday in remembering Jenkins that the sports community in West Virginia is a family unto itself.