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Assuming a Heavy Mantle in a Season of Sorrow

“I’m a pretty laid-back coach,” said Best, 29. “I’m more interested in changing the lives of some of these young women than changing the calls of referees, and through basketball, I think I have been able to do that.”

Best stepped into the coaching spotlight in January after the death of Apache Paschall, who led Nazareth to the Brooklyn/Queens, state and federation championships in 2011. Paschall, who died at 38, apparently of a heart attack, was replaced by Best and another assistant, Ron Kelley.

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Nazareth, Exodus’ Apache Paschall dies

Robert “Apache” Paschall, one of the country’s most successful girls’ basketball coaches, died at a New York hospital on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old coach at Nazareth (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and director of the Exodus NYC AAU club program had been battling an aggressive form of skin cancer since a diagnosis in October. He had also suffered a series of health issues during the past year.

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Naz coach gives first comments on recruiting investigation in Post Q&A

Apache Paschall has been mostly quiet on the topic of the league investigation looming over his head. The Nazareth coach has been under a strict gag order from his principal to not address the pending decision by the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Eligibility and Infractions Committee.

But Tuesday night, on the eve of what is expected to be his judgment day, Paschall sat down for an exclusive interview with The Post. In this Q&A, the head man of the nationally ranked Lady Kingsmen addresses everything from the investigation to his health to how this season has been the hardest of his decade-long career.

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